ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Doctors across the region are treating COVID-19 patients using antibody therapy.
Dr. Sonal Bhakta is the Chief Medical Officer for Mercy’s Rogers. She tells me the monoclonal antibody treatment is one the best tools they have to keep folks from experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms and reduce emergency room visits.
She says monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that mimic the immune system. They help fight off harmful viruses. The treatment is done by injection or infusion.
Doctor Bhakta says the hospital previously used another drug referred to as BAM as part of the treatment but the FDA approved Regen-COV has shown to be very effective against the delta variant.
“If you start feeling bad, that means that the virus is starting to multiply. It’s replicating and you want to get the injection or the infusion, within 10 days to stop the virus where it is… to bind it up so it can prevent further damage to your body,” said Dr. Bhakta.
It is only available to high-risk patients who are not hospitalized due to COVID-19.
This includes people who have diabetes, chronic kidney disease and those older than 65 years old.
Once you get the treatment there is a one-hour observation period to monitor the patient. Dr. Bhakta says they have not seen any severe reaction from their patients.
In the past month and a half, Mercy Rogers has treated over 250 people with this therapy. She adds patients have reported feeling better within 24 to 48 hours from receiving it.
“This has proven to be a very effective treatment so far to help patients that have not chosen to get vaccinated or who have contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated and are high risk,” said Dr. Bhakta.
She adds that someone exposed to the coronavirus who is high risk can also receive the monoclonal antibody treatment to prevent getting sick.
Mercy has also partnered with a home infusion company to provide therapy for patients in their homes.
The treatment is offered at the Rogers and Fort Smith locations.