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The benefits of monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 | Wear The Gown

Not everybody is eligible for the life-saving treatment.

SAN ANTONIO — Texas Governor Greg Abbott says Texans with COVID-19 should get a special kind of therapy to recover from the disease.

It's called Regeneron Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are a synthetic, or laboratory made version, of antibodies against the coronavirus. They attack the spiked protein and inhibit the entry of the virus into the cell. 

"We've used monoclonal antibodies for quite some time. They're used for other diseases, not this particular monoclonal against the COVID, but monoclonals directed at other things are used for lots of diseases," said Dr. Jan Patterson who is an infectious disease specialist at University Hospital within University Health, as well as at UT Health San Antonio. 

She says only those over age 12 are eligible. Dr. Patterson told KENS 5, "Monoclonal antibodies are given for patients who are diagnosed with COVID, but have mild to moderate disease, and are at high risk for progression."  

Those people would include people who are overweight, those with diabetes, people with certain chronic diseases like kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, the immunocompromised and people with complex medical issues. 

Dr. Patterson says you can't just show up somewhere expecting to get it. She said, "It's important so that the right people get this therapy, the people who are at high risk for progression, and the people that are diagnosed with COVID." 

Even though the treatment is not FDA approved, experts say it is effective. Dr. Patterson added, "For people with mild to moderate disease at high risk of progression, their risk can be decreased by 70 percent with these monoclonal antibodies."  

Experts stress while the treatment of monoclonal antibodies is effective and free with a doctor's prescription, it should not be used as an alternative to the extremely important coronavirus vaccine. 

For more information on family health call (210) 358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear The Gown stories here.

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