New treatment helps hospitals fight COVID-19, lower hospitalization rate

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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – A local hospital is expanding access to a powerful treatment fighting COVID-19.

The infusion treatment, monoclonal antibodies, steps in when your body’s giving out against COVID-19.

McLeod Health doctors say it’s proven most powerful treating high risk, COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

“We knew it had potential but seeing it can change a patients life is really encouraging,” Price Todd, Director of Pharmacy Service at McLeod Health Seacoast, said.

The goal of the antibody infusion treatment is to reduce future hospitalizations. It has given high-risk individuals the chance to recover quickly from the comfort of their own homes.

Currently, more than 550 patients have seen promising results after using the drug across McLeod Health campuses.

“We’ve had patients report that during the infusion, they started to feel better, and then after the infusion, they felt remarkably better,” Todd said.

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins that mimic natural antibodies to the virus causing COVID-19.

The antibodies have proven to help people develop immunity and fight off COVID-19 if in the early stages of the virus.

“It finds the virus, and its antibodies naturally produced by your body’s response to infections, whether bacteria or virus. So what we have been able to do is produce those natural responses in an infusion,” Todd said.

The infusion is for those at high risk, including people 65 years and older and people with underlying health conditions.

Todd says more patients who likely would have otherwise progressed to hospitalizations can return home and make a full recovery.

“We’ve seen patients whose oxygen saturations improved after the infusion, and we had one patient even report that the hand of God had touched them,” Todd said.

McLeod Health hospitals will offer the infusion treatment at all three McLeod locations in Horry County and McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence.

While the FDA approved the treatment in November, doctors have recently expanded use and adopted a quicker delivery process to patients.

McLeod Health says they recommend the treatment for people testing positive ages 65 and older. Patients should call their primary care provider to discuss the infusion process.

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