November 29, 2021

COVID-19 treatment now being used on close contacts without positive test result – Live 5 News WCSC

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – As South Carolina continues to see COVID-19 cases climb, one of the tools in the state’s arsenal to fight the pandemic is now able to be used in more people and more places.

Monoclonal antibodies had only been being used once a person had tested positive and was at a high risk of severe disease, but now they’re able to be given if someone at higher risk has had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, said Dr. Jane Kelly who is the assistant state epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Another change is that the antibodies used to have to be given using an IV, but now they can be given in what’s called a subcutaneous injection which will make it possible for more medical providers to offer them.

Unlike the antibodies one’s body makes on its own, these monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab and given out to help kick-start someone’s immune system, Kelly explained, but they’re not a perfect solution since they only last around 90 days and are 70% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

“Monoclonal antibodies, they’re a temporary fix, they’re a strong temporary fix, but they won’t protect you from future infections and you need to wait 90 days after you get them before you can be vaccinated,” she said.

Vaccines, meanwhile, help the body produce its own antibodies so it learns how to fight off the virus itself, she added.

To date, DHEC said more than 16,000 South Carolinians have gotten monoclonal antibodies, which the agency said has prevented around 2,000 hospitalizations and 200 deaths.

Right now, Kelly said the state has enough of them to meet current needs.

There are more than half a dozen places where you can get the antibodies in the Lowcountry, and more providers are applying to offer the treatment.

The current list includes:

MUSC University Hospital

  • Roper Hospital
  • Coastal Pediatrics
  • Omnicare of Charleston
  • Trident Medical Center
  • DaVita Walterboro
  • Bon Secours Roper St. Francis Hospital
  • Williamsburg Regional Hospital
  • Georgetown Memorial Hospital
  • Fresenius Winyah

For the full list, click here.

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