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Health Team

New COVID antibody infusion therapy hoping to reduce hospitalizations

Posted January 11, 2021 11:08 p.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2021 12:13 a.m. EST

A recently approved antibody infusion therapy is hoping to reduce the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations. This form of treatment is designed to help those who have recently contracted the virus have a better chance of reducing severe symptoms.

"I really do believe it was a game changer for me," said Rev. Dr. John Campbell, who received the infusion. "I think without it, I would have ended up in the hospital on a ventilator."

69-year-old Campbell tested positive for coronavirus in December. With several pre-existing conditions, Campbell said it was a scary diagnosis.

"I had three stints, I had heart problems, a few pounds overweight and pre-diabetic," he described.

When he heard about Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Therapy, which uses man-made antibodies similar to those COVID-19 patients naturally produce to fight off the virus, Campbell jumped at the chance.

“In small studies, it has shown that it can reduce the risk of a patient proceeding to severe COVID infection, hospitalization or an ER visit," explained Dr. Joseph Roberts, UNC Health Southeastern's chief medical officer.

Campbell was treated at the Southeastern Health Mall Clinic the day he tested positive.

"I had noticeable improvement with the headaches, muscle aches and my shortness of breath right away," he said.

Health experts said the treatment is used for patients 12-and-older with chronic medical conditions.

"It's probably not used as much as it probably should be," said Roberts.

If you qualify, the treatment is free and experts suggest getting the therapy within a week of testing positive for COVID.

At no cost, Campbell recommends this treatment for others who are, or, will battle the virus.

“Take advantage of this. It’s another tool to help us survive this COVID until there’s enough vaccine," he added.

Infusions are offered at WakeMed hospital seven days a week. Officials said they have performed more than 350 to date – preventing at least 45 COVID-related hospitalizations.

In the UNC Health system, infusions are available at several hospitals, including UNC Medical Center which has conducted about 170 infusions.

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