New COVID treatment to prevent extreme illnesses

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Doctors are providing good news in the fights against COVID-19 — saying an antibody treatment designed to keep people from getting severely ill is working.

With hospitalizations rising to staggering numbers nationwide, antibody treatments at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center are keeping new admissions down for patients like Todd Keener.

“My lungs [were] burning one day, and the next day I just started feeling like I was catching a flu. Then I had a low-grade fever for a few days, and just kind of worn,” Keener describes.

Keener was diagnosed with Lupus three years ago; raising red flags when he tested positive for COVID-19 just three weeks ago.

“Everything that you hear and everything that you’re watching, you just don’t know,” said Keener of his worries about contracting the virus.

One day after his positive test, Keener’s doctors referred him for an antibody treatment called Bamlanivimab.

“The EUA from the FDA states that we need to infuse them within 10 days, but we found if we infuse them as early as possible, they tend to have better outcomes,” says Dr. Jonathan Parson from The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Keener said he felt like himself just days later.

“Sunday I was pretty bad; Monday I was pretty bad. By Wednesday I was working. I wasn’t at work, but I was up moving and doing everything I needed to do,” Keener says. Within two days there is a very large difference. Huge. You’re up, you’re moving around. Such as myself, I got on the treadmill, I did some painting at the house. I stayed active after that the whole way through.”

Ohio State began treating patients about two months ago. Since then, they’ve infused just over 1,000 COVID-19 infected individuals.

During that time, doctors say they’ve likely prevented close to 75 hospitalizations with this particular treatment program.

“When you do translate it into the number of patient days saved, it actually is a very big number,” says Dr. Parsons.

Parsons says the average hospital stay right now is 10-20 days. Those saved days play a big role on overwhelmed healthcare systems.

“If you do the math, we’re approaching close to 800-1,000 patient days saved on the inpatient side, which is hugely beneficial for a hospital that’s overflowing,” Dr. Parsons admits.

Doctors say the treatment is authorized for high-risk individuals with mild to moderate symptoms.

Unlike the vaccine, doctors say they have ample supply of this treatment and recommend those individuals see their primary care doctors for a referral if they test positive.

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