FRESNO, California (KSEE) – St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno is offering two coronavirus antibody treatments in hopes they can decrease COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The hospital started to provide infusions of antibody cocktails, created by the companies Regeneron and Eli Lilly.
“It is a very important therapy that has been made available,” said St. Agnes Chief Medical Officer W. Eugene Egerton.
Regeneron gained notoriety after Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 in October and was given the antibody cocktail. At that time, it was not available to the public. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was given a similar antibody made by Eli Lilly during his battle with COVID-19.
Both the treatments have since been approved by the FDA for emergency use and are available in Fresno County.
“We are able to do 8 patients in a day because of the time that it takes to infuse these,” said Egerton.
The infusion is an outpatient treatment and takes an hour. The therapy works by putting antibodies in the blood to boost the immune system.
“So that when my body sees COVID it will react to it how it would any other bacteria or disease,” said Egerton.
Close to 50 patients have gotten the treatment at St. Agnes so far. The treatment is only for those with mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. The first priority is for patients 65 years or older, or those with pre-existing conditions.
Patients under the age of 12, already hospitalized, or on oxygen, are not eligible.
The infusion is most effective within the first 5-10 days of the infection.