Carilion expanding COVID-19 treatment proven to reduce patient hospitalizations, death

Doctors are seeing an increase demand for monoclonal antibody therapy with the rise of COVID case numbers

ROANOKE, Va. – While COVID-19 cases are on the rise, Carilion Clinic is looking to expand accessibility for a treatment that is proven to keep coronavirus-positive patients out of the hospital.

Monoclonal antibody therapy was approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA in November. The treatment is a combination of proteins given through an IV to patients who test positive for COVID-19.

Carilion’s interim chief of infectious disease, Dorothy Garner says studies show the treatment helps patients better fight off the virus.

“COVID monoclonal antibodies can reduce hospitalization and reduce the possibility of death from COVID, from anywhere to 70 to 85%. So that’s tremendous compared to all the other therapies we have to use once you’re hospitalized for COVID,” said Garner.

Since December, Carilion has offered treatment to hundreds of patients.

To receive the treatment you must have a positive COVID-19 test, be 12 years old or older, have moderate symptoms and receive a referral from your primary care provider. Doctors say the earlier you get the treatment, the better the outcome.

“The importance of rapid diagnosis if you develop symptoms because it needs to be given within the first 10 days of symptoms, but in our experience, the first two to three days, you can see dramatic improvement,” said Garner.

Carilion typically gives the treatment to four to six people a day. But as COVID case numbers rise in our region, physicians are seeing an increase in demand.

“We’re close to the peak number of infusions that we gave back in late January, early February when we were having such a spike of cases,” said Garner.

This is why Carilion is expanding treatment sites and hours. The antibody therapy is offered at Roanoke Memorial Hospital and Carilion New River Valley Medical Center.

Contact your primary care provider to ask for a referral for the treatment. If you do not have a primary care physician, contact Carilion directly at 800-765-3506 or 540-981-7000. Visit Carilion’s website to learn more.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.