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Are you a high risk COVID patient? Monoclonal antibodies could save you a trip to the ICU

Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto has expanded its monoclonal antibody therapy program.

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss — Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto is now making monoclonal treatment available 7 days a week. A local doctor describes it as effective and safe for high-risk COVID-19 patients. 

One woman who underwent the treatment is advising people not to wait.  

“At that time just the amount of exhaustion, difficulty breathing and that kind of thing was just really taking its toll,” said DeSoto County resident Amy Kirby.

Kirby became ill with COVID-19 at the end of last December.

“I really thought that I could get better on my own but it just seemed to get worse and worse,” she explained.  

So Kirby took action and decided to undergo monoclonal therapy and she said it was worth it.

“Within 24 hours probably even less than that I could tell an immediate difference in the exhaustion, I could tell an immediate difference in telling I could breathe better,” said Kirby.  

The therapy is given by an IV to COVID-19 patients who are at high risk for developing a severe illness. 

“If they have a clear large exposure to the virus they can actually use it if they’re a high risk person,” shared infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld. “That’s kind of the sticker, you have to have some risk factor for developing more severe disease."

Threlkeld said at first people didn’t take advantage of the therapy but now many are catching on. 

It takes about half an hour and the requirements include a COVID positive test, be 65 years or older or 12 or 55 and older with a pre-existing condition. 

“It’s really the only thing we have early on in infection that can prevent more infection, hospitalizations, death,” said Dr. Threlkeld.  

So far Baptist Hospital has given more than 6,000 doses and the DeSoto location can now treat about 400 COVID patients with the therapy a week.

Threlkeld said patients need to wait 90 days before you take the COVID vaccine after you go through the monoclonal therapy.