Lower valley hospital sees success with COVID-19 antibody treatments

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. – In November, the FDA gave Emergency Use Authorization to monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Pharmacist with Astria Hospital in Sunnyside Jessica Zering said so far, it’s proved to be successful.

“Bamlanivimab and etesevimab, casirivimab and imdevimab,” she named the antibody treatments.

The monoclonal antibody treatments are given during a 15 minute IV infusion, but you have to meet one of the qualifications.

“When you’re first infected with COVID, your body is still working on making those antibodies to make you well. These therapies are antibodies that are given to you immediately to fight that virus immediately,” Dr. Zering said.

After patients get the infusion, medical professionals monitor them to check for any allergic reactions.

“So far our experience has been it’s shortened the symptom duration and it seems to keep people out of the hospital which is a wonderful thing,” she said.

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If you qualify, Dr. Zering said it’s important to get the antibodies as soon after you get a positive test, and before you’re admitted to the hospital.

Zering said you should reach out to your primary doctor for a referral.

“This monoclonal antibody therapy is given to you in that window of time to hopefully prevent you from getting to that point,” she explained.

The National Infusion Center has created a tool to find the closest treatment location.

While the federal government has covered the cost of the actual antibody drugs, patients could incur some additional costs.

“Of course there are fees with administration and time etc., but the drug itself is free,” Zering said.

The pharmacist said it’s therapies like this and the vaccine, that give her hope in fighting against the pandemic.

“That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re in the medical field, we’re here because we love to help people it brings me so much joy,” she said.

Zering said there are side effects to beware of, such as an allergic reaction, GI distress, headaches or itchiness at injection site.

Contact your provider if you have any questions or concerns.