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Hospital officials say monoclonal antibody therapy helping hospitalizations

Alabama state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said the treatments are roughly 60 to 70 percent successful in preventing high risk patients from being hospitalized.
Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Doctors across the state are urging the use of monoclonal antibody therapy for those with COVID-19 to help prevent hospitalizations across our already full hospitals.

Officials with the Alabama Hospital Association said it is already making a difference in hospitalizations.

“Absent that, I don’t think that we would still be standing as an industry right now in the hospitals,” Alabama Hospital Association Deputy Director Danne Howard said. “We absolutely can point to the monoclonal antibody therapy as something that has kept people out of the hospital.”

Alabama state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said the treatments are roughly 60 to 70 percent successful in preventing high risk patients from being hospitalized.

“It is doing a great job,” Howard said. “There’s been tremendous success.”

Now approved to be given through IV infusion or injections, Howard said roughly 200 Alabama clinics are able to administer it. She said the only problem is staffing shortages.

“There is not a supply limit right now, of the medication, the limiting factor for most hospitals and other clinics is staff to be able to administer the IV therapies,” Howard said.

Officials with UAB Hospital said they have been using the therapies for months and are noticing a difference.

“We don’t have a lot of magical cures for Covid right now,” Dr. Sarah Nafziger said. “We do have one treatment that has been very effective at treating people who are already infected and keeping them from requiring hospitalization and that is treatment with monoclonal antibody therapy.”

Nafziger said the hospital has multiple infusion clinics and some are given in the emergency departments when needed, but they are still reserving the treatment for those who need it the most.

“Not everybody needs it who has Covid,” Nafziger said. “It is really reserved for those who are the highest risk of being hospitalized.”

Dr. David Hicks with Jefferson County Health Department said more options for the treatment will soon be coming to Jefferson county. They plan to announce those locations within the next few weeks.

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