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Hospitals spread word about life-saving COVID-19 treatment

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With only 32% of the state fully vaccinated, hospitals are trying to spread the word about a life-saving COVID-19 treatment.

The Fever and Flu Clinic in Huntsville is hoping to educate the public about monoclonal antibodies. The artificial antibodies are used as a treatment for those who are infected with COVID and likely to experience sever disease. Previously the criteria for requiring the antibodies was much stricter. Now the treatment is available to a wider range of patients.

Cindy Rodgers is a nurse practitioner at the Huntsville Hospital Fever and Flu Clinic. Rodgers said it is important people get tested for COVID when they feel ill so that doctors have time to deliver the infusion. 

“The patients that are getting sick now have been sick for nine or 10 days before they go to the emergency room. And then at day seven or eight, the respiratory symptoms kick in and they really start getting sick. So by the time they get to the emergency room, it’s almost too late to turn them around,” she said. 

Rodgers said the antibody infusion is the best way for those infected with COVID-19 to avoid severe illness.  

“The people who we have given the infusion to were all very high risk. Most of them before the criteria expanded. And the majority of them were able to recover at home, and do well, and not have to go to the hospital,” she said. 

Monoclonal antibodies are most useful for those who are age 65 and older, overweight or that have chronic health conditions. Those who have been fully vaccinated and that test positive for COVID-19 are unlikely to require monoclonal antibodies.  

Will McLelland is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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