Health experts tout monoclonal antibody therapy's effectiveness in treating COVID-19

Monoclonal antibody infusion therapy is getting rave reviews from medical experts for its effectiveness in treating patients with the coronavirus. But not all hospitals in Central Florida are offering it.

It's a synthetic drug that can help COVID-19 patients recover quickly.  

"Not only does it work well, but it keeps them out of the hospital and they’re recovering a lot faster," explained Shane Strum, CEO of North Broward Hospital.   

John Couris, CEO of Tampa General Hospital echoed the response, saying, "I would encourage people to use it, we have had great success."

Monoclonal antibody therapy is used to fight COVID early on, but over at Orlando Health, their emergency department (ED) isn’t able to treat patients with it.

"We are not doing this in our ED at the moment because of our volumes. We have to use that space for acute care,"  Dr. George Ralls, Orlando Health Chief Medical Officer said.

University of South Florida Health Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Michael Teng said a vaccine helps prevent COVID, but monoclonal antibodies help a patient already infected with COVID. 

"They can treat you with one of our monoclonal antibodies to prevent the virus from infecting you more than it has already."

However, he added that a patient needs to take it early on, within the first two weeks of being infected with COVID. It could keep a person out of the hospital.

"When you have these ICUs and hospitalized patients, it’s already too late for the monoclonal antibody treatment."

Over at Tampa General, they’re administering 35 to 40 treatments a day. 

Couris said, "Anecdotally almost 100% of patients have told us that 24 to 48 hours later they feel much better and symptoms start to subside."

Health officials said a monoclonal antibody treatment usually takes two-and-a-half to three hours. 

AdventHealth said it has been such a success, the hospital has expanded room for it at their clinic.

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