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University Hospital opens COVID antibody therapy clinic

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 2:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - University Hospital has opened a dedicated COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusion center to help people infected with coronavirus.

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-created proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. Used soon after infection, they can block the coronavirus’ attachment and entry into human cells.

The new infusion center increases University’s capacity to help more patients who qualify.

“These antibodies are currently the single most effective outpatient treatment to prevent severe disease and hospitalization from COVID,” the hospital said.

Infusions are available by physician’s referral only and for COVID-positive patients at high risk for severe disease who are older than 18, weigh more than 88 pounds and have had COVID symptoms for less than 10 days (preferably less than five). Those at risk for severe disease include patients with hypertension, diabetes, lung or cardiovascular disease, pregnancy, immunosuppression, sickle cell disease or obesity. Meanwhile, Augusta University Health’s infusion center is going strong several months after opening.

It’s giving 18 to 20 doses a day at its clinic, which is open seven days a week and looking to expand.

Local doctors say the therapy is one of the only things working to help people who are already infected.

“It is extremely important that we’re using this because I think it’s one of the few things that’s keeping patients out of the hospitals,” AU Health’s Dr. Jose Vazquez told News 12 recently.

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

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