MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After Kelly Thompson and her family received positive COVID tests in February, she immediately set up an appointment for herself for monoclonal antibody treatment that she heard about through work. She’s higher risk for severe COVID.
“I was nervous because I’m on an immunocompromising medication so was definitely worried that it could’ve led to more severe symptoms,” Thompson said.READ MORE: COVID In MN: Gov. Walz Says 'Roll Up Your Sleeves, MN' Vaccine Campaign Now Focusing On Manufacturing Workers
The UnitedHealth Group site in Minnetonka treats patients via IV infusion. The appointments are one hour of the infusion, and an hour for monitoring.
“We’ve been really impressed with the data we have,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Daniel Griffin said. “Probably a 70 to 80% reduction in progressing at all.”
Griffin said that means patients can feel better within a day or two and avoid hospitalization or death after their antibody treatment. But that outcome, he says, depends largely on timing, with the optimal outcomes for COVID patients who receive the treatment within the first week of illness.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 2,299 New Cases, 6 Deaths; Cumulative Fatalities Near 7,000
Thompson was feeling better less than two days after her appointment.
“I really do feel the antibody treatment lessened my symptoms, helped me recover more quickly,” she said.
The monoclonal antibody treatment is the same type that former President Donald Trump used when he was diagnosed with COVID. But it’s available here to the public for COVID patients who are at higher risk for severe illness. It is free to patients at the UHG site.
“A lot of people don’t know that there is this incredibly effective therapy out there,” Griffin said.MORE NEWS: As Hospitalizations And ICU Numbers Climb, Some Hospitals Declare 3rd COVID Surge
The Minnesota Department of Health says these treatments are available at multiple health care providers in Minnesota for those who qualify. For more information on the treatment, click here.