CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Atrium Health, Novant Health and StarMed Healthcare are all scaling up and more widely offering monoclonal antibody treatment. The treatment is for people who test positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of a severe case.
It's meant to keep people from getting sicker and take some of the pressure off the hospital systems.
The treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under emergency use authorization for several months and some who have already gotten it said they were surprised at how quickly it made them feel better.
COVID-19 knocked out Kurt Odom.
“I had a busting headache and started shaking, chills, body aches, started getting congestion. I knew something was up then,” Odom said.
Soon after testing positive, he heard about monoclonal antibody treatment and went to StarMed to receive it. He says it’s what helped him feel better.
“Honestly it really did just knock it right out,” Odom said.
He got the treatment on a Monday and said by Tuesday, he was feeling better and more like normal.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off COVID-19. It's given through an IV or injection and anyone 12 or older who is at risk of severe outcomes from the virus can get it.
“When you receive the antibody infusion, it should prevent the symptoms from getting really bad and leaving to a hospitalization or other negative outcomes,” Joe Maki with Novant Health said.
Novant Health, Atrium Health and StarMed are all offering the treatment in the Charlotte area, and StarMed opened its new clinic solely focused on the therapy on Monday. They’re aiming to treat at least 50 people a day. It’s located at 491 N. Wendover Road.
The overall goal of scaling up the treatments is to take some of the stress off the hospitals.
“When patients who were symptomatic with COVID received them, the amount of times a patient had to visit a hospital or emergency room decreased by 70%,” Dr. Lisa Davidson with Atrium Health said.
Odom isn't sure what would've happened if he hadn't gotten the treatment, but he is grateful he didn't have to find out.
“Hopefully I would’ve been able to fight it off anyway, but I really think it did help the process of healing faster and getting over it a lot sooner,” he said.
It’s best to check with a doctor to see if monoclonal antibody treatment is a good fit.