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Avera Medical Minute: Antibody infusion helps qualifying patients

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The symptoms of COVID-19 hit Craig Bertrand hard.

“It was the worst headache of my life, horrible night sweats, cold and clammy all day, no appetite, and it was hard because of the headache. It was hard to even drink water,” said Bertrand.

Bertrand scheduled an eCare visit with his doctor and they talked about how to move forward with his underlying conditions of asthma, diabetes, and being overweight.

A Bamlanivimab antibody infusion was ordered.

“We did a couple of questions, checked my heart rate monitor, and then they hooked me right up,” said Bertrand.

The process was two hours, half for the infusion, and the rest to monitor his conditions.

“After I left the clinic I was felt so much better the headache was gone,” said Bertrand. “I could get out of bed. I’ve got a five-year old and I was able to play. Just a bad cold is all felt like. It was nothing like it was,” said Bertrand.

He thinks of what could have happened without the infusion.

“Probably would have been in the hospital at some point,” said Bertrand.

Avera Family physician Dr. Chad Thury says the Bamlanivimab antibody infusion helps a COVID patient fight the virus sooner.

“When you get infected with a virus, your body creates antibodies to help fight off the virus. And it takes a while for that process to happen. What we do with monoclonal antibodies is we’re providing those antibodies to the patient. So they have them to neutralize the virus sooner than what their immune system would be able to do otherwise,” said Dr. Thury.

To qualify for an infusion, you need to test positive, have symptoms and be 65 or older, or be 55 and over with one or more conditions: high blood pressure, lung disease, compromised immune system, or obesity.

“The sooner you have symptoms and you get tested, then the sooner we can get the monoclonal antibody infusion ordered, and administered,” said Thury.

Studies have shown the infusion makes a difference.

“About every 10 patients that we give a monoclonal antibody infusion to we’re going to prevent one hospitalization,” said Thury.

Although symptoms of COVID-19 can be treated, the monoclonal antibody infusion is the only treatment to help fight the virus.

“It would be a no-brainer and if I would have to do it again I wouldn’t even hesitate,” said Bertrand.

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