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Breaking down COVID-19 treatment options in the CSRA

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:44 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Right now, there are more than 400 people in our local hospitals sick with COVID-19. What many might not know is that there are treatments available to help you feel better faster and avoid the hospital altogether.

“To end up in the nightmare of being alone in the hospital and being told that I probably wouldn’t make it out of there is beyond traumatic,” said Barnes.

Trina Barnes contracted COVID-19 nearly three weeks ago. She’s home now but not without an oxygen tank and a heart rate monitor that’s carried everywhere she goes.

“COVID is a beast and it picks and chooses who it’s going to devour and don’t think because you’re young or because you’re healthy that you’re going to escape its wrath,” she said.

It wasn’t until after COVID when she found out about a therapy that could help you feel better faster and potentially save lives. That therapy is Regeneron therapy which works with monoclonal antibodies.

“It has so many benefits. It would keep a person from experiencing the trauma that I did,” she said.

It’s used to help reduce the effects of COVID in severely ill patients. Doctors at two of our major hospitals say this is one of the only things working.

“It is extremely important that we’re using this because I think its one of the few things that’s keeping patients out of the hospitals,” said Dr. Jose Vazquez.

Vazquez says AU’s monoclonal antibody clinic is giving 18 to 20 doses a week in. It’s only for patients who are above the age of 12, had COVID n the last 10 days, and are at high risk for severe illness.

“I would say the most important part to this is that’s what’s going to save a lot of lives,” he said.

Barnes says she visited four different doctors within 10 days of getting COVID and no one even suggested this therapy.

“We have to realize that the resources are limited,” said Dr. Ioana Chirca, infectious disease expert, University Hospital. “The truth is we don’t have a whole lot of treatments available.”

Ultimately doctors say the best way to prevent severe COVID is something everyone can do, right now.

“The truth is our best weapons right now is vaccination and wearing a mask,” said Chirca.

AU Health tells us it’s looking to expand its monoclonal antibody clinic.

Doctors tell us they have three different treatments in the works so far. We don’t know a ton about them yet, but we do know they’d be pills you’d take for five days. At this point, those treatments are not approved.

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