Hospitals seeing increase demand for Monoclonal Antibody treatment
JONESBORO, Ark- As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, one treatment to help those most at risk after testing positive is keeping hospitals working overtime to meet demand.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is gaining popularity for Covid-19 patients. So much that NEA Baptist hospital, which has offered the treatment since last November, can’t keep up with the demand.
“Certainly, in the last month is when we’ve seen an increase,” says Melanie Edens, NEA Baptist chief operating officer.
NEA Baptist has performed about sixteen hundred monoclonal antibody treatments since November. But Edens, the hospital's COO, says it’s not enough.
“We’re currently able to offer about one hundred and fifty a week, but that’s not keeping up with the demand. So, we’re actively looking to expand our hours of service into the evening,” she said.
The treatment received emergency use authorization by the FDA in late 2020 and is for high-risk individuals who recently tested positive.
Patients receive the antibodies through an infusion or four injections, and many physicians are prescribing it as a way to keep patients out of the hospital.
The antibodies help the body respond to the virus more successfully, and patients report improved symptoms soon after.
“We hear that after the treatment that they are feeling better, sometimes before they even leave,” said Edens.
NEA Baptist does not require a referral to receive the monoclonal antibody treatment as long as one meets at least one eligibility criteria to qualify.
Following the service, patients are monitored for an hour and can then go home. Edens calls it their best treatment today for Covid-19.
“It keeps patients out of the hospital from what we’re seeing, and so I do think that obviously as there is more awareness, regarding the monoclonal antibody. We’ve seen really good results. I do think that’s why we’ve seen more patients opt to have the antibody infusion or injection.”
Monoclonal Antibody treatment is becoming so popular that Edens says they’ve had people contact the hospital about receiving the treatment from all across the state.