Frustration Grows Over Shortage of Monoclonal Antibody Treatments | News

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Some families are frustrated as loved ones battling COVID-19 are denied monoclonal antibody treatments. Family in Colombia says COVID-19 is moving through their home, hitting a family member hard.

“He’s never been so sick in his life, he’s never been so sick,” says Diane La Spada.

Nine days ago her husband started to feel a little sick. He tested positive for COVID-19, so she started calling places that give monoclonal antibody treatments. La Spada says that since her husband is not considered to be at high risk, he is not eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment even if his symptoms worsen.

“It snowballed from there. That night he had a fever spike of 105.1. His oxygen was down so we just kept an eye on it,” La Spada said.

Her husband ended up in the emergency room and he was sent home with an inhaler and cough medicine. Now he cannot eat or drink.

“He said he felt like he was chewing glass and swallowing it.”

She is doing everything she can to keep her husband comfortable while he battles the virus.

“This week I took him to a doctor’s office in Columbia, Agape Healthcare, and we took vitamin IV pretty much because he’s dehydrated and I can’t get him anything,” La Spada explained. .

La Spada tried to find a doctor to refer him to a COVID infusion clinic. Since moving to Tennessee a few months ago, the La Spada family haven’t had much luck. Some doctors are too overwhelmed to take on new patients immediately.

“And I can’t even get in until February, at the end of February,” La Spada said she was nervous for other families whose loved ones are struggling to get the treatment they need. “It’s scary. Especially spending the last week with my husband, it’s incredibly scary.”

For months, doctors have been able to use 3 types of antibody therapy to keep patients from getting seriously ill. Brittany Standridge’s grandmother being one of them.

“It definitely saved his life,” Standridge said the monoclonal antibody treatment his grandmother received helped him quickly relieve his symptoms of COVID. “It was about 3 days after she tested positive that we were able to get her in for the antibodies, then after two days she started to feel 10 times better. She still feels a little weak now. , but overall she’s back to her normal self. “

Doctors must now save infusions of COVID antibodies for those who need them most because only one antibody treatment works against the Omicron variant. Since COVID testing sites cannot test which strain you have, doctors in Nashville say they are told to assume everyone has the Omicron variant.

“There is no clinical test that differentiates omicron from other different variants and it is frustrating for patients and for us as providers, especially because some of these other antibody preparations are said to work against the delta variant, ”said Dr. Karen Bloch, medical director. from the Vanderbilt COVID Infusion Clinic.

Dr Bloch says Vanderbilt’s COVID infusion clinic is treating everyone as if they have Omicron right now.

“This is what our lab and our county health department told us, let’s just assume everyone has omicron as it is over 90% of the strains circulating in our community at this time. stage, “said Dr Bloch.

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