Monoclonal antibody treatment could be a lifesaver for many COVID-19 patients

Posted at 5:22 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 23:35:33-04

DENVER -- COVID-19 drugs that supply virus-blocking antibodies are keeping newly infected people out of the hospital.

Gary Springs remembers exactly how he felt after testing positive for COVID-19 last November.

"I felt feverish, I had a slight headache," Springs said.

He got sick shortly after his wife tested positive. Both of them had preexisting medical conditions.

Days later, they were told by their doctor about a new monoclonal antibody treatment at UCHealth that could speed up their recovery while lessening their symptoms.

"Why go through the pain when you can get rid of it?" Springs said.

Here’s how it works. The antibodies in the treatment prevent the virus from attaching to cells in the human body, making it harder for the virus to replicate and cause harm.

"This treatment is monoclonal antibodies. These are antiviral proteins that are taken from people who have recovered from COVID and are found to be the most potent at neutralizing the virus," said Emergency Department Physician for UCHealth Adit Ginde.

Ginde says monoclonal antibody treatment is a way to quickly clear the virus from the body. It’s administered in the form of an infusion.

"I was amazed, totally amazed," said Springs.

Because of low oxygen levels, Springs' wife wasn’t able to receive the treatment but almost immediately after his infusion, he felt drastically different.

"I felt much better in two days, I had no lingering effects where she was in the hospital for eight days and when she got home she still had some lingering effects," said Springs.

Especially for people already in high-risk groups, this treatment could be life saving and the sooner they can get started the better.

"Giving this medicine, monoclonal antibodies, to outpatients so this is early in the course of the disease before they get hospitalized that have COVID-19, can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by up to 90%," Ginde said.

To be eligible, you must have symptoms and test positive for COVID-19. You must be older than 65 or younger than 65 if you have risk factors for severe disease.

People recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and interested in this treatment can schedule a virtual visit with UCHealth to see if they’re eligible.