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Doctors say monoclonal antibody treatment could lead to fewer COVID hospitalizations

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BATON ROUGE - An FDA-approved treatment called monoclonal antibody therapy is being used to treat more people with early COVID-19 symptoms.

Doctors say it reduces the chance of hospitalization and death. 

"Monoclonal antibodies are a therapeutic medicine designed to keep people with minor symptoms of COVID-19 from progressing to worse symptoms that might require hospitalization," said Doctor Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health.

The treatment is authorized for those who test positive for COVID-19 and are 65 and up or have a pre-existing condition.

When it comes to getting the treatment, doctors say timing is critical. It must be given to the patient within a few days of contracting the virus.

"This therapy is more effective the earlier that one receives it. If one were to wait five or six days after their symptoms began, this therapy would be less effective," Kanter said.

Monoclonal antibody infusions are given out daily at three major hospitals in the Capital area.

At Baton Rouge General, about 10 infusions are given each day. At Our Lady of the Lake, doctors give up to 25. As for Ochsner, health care workers administer up to 70 a day.

The whole process takes about an hour or so, and patients are monitored for side effects.

"Every time they give an infusion they're potentially preventing an admission. If you can prevent a bed from being occupied by giving an infusion, you're doing a huge service to the health care system," said Ralph Dauterive, vice president of Medical Affairs at Ochsner Health.

Doctors say people can request the treatment as soon as they find out they have COVID-19.
They also urge testing if you think you have the virus but say the best way to beat this pandemic is to get vaccinated.


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