The FDA recently expanded who can get COVID antibody infusions. Before, it was for people who had tested positive for the virus and had mild to moderate symptoms and met certain criteria, but now people who’ve been exposed and haven’t tested positive to COVID-19 can get the infusion as well.

Dr. Pradeep Mada, an Infectious Diseases Physician at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, said to get it, the patient’s doctor has to think they may have a severe case of the virus if they were to test positive for COVID.

“If you are at high risk of getting a severe disease, then you get it as early as possible in the course, then we can prevent the severe disease and ICU admissions, and so that’s pretty good,” he said.

Dr. Mada said CCMH has done around 70 infusions so far. They started doing them when the FDA first authorized it for emergency use. He said the lab-created molecules are designed to specifically fight off the virus.

“These antibodies will bind to the virus,” Dr. Mada said. “And it stops replication sooner so that the viral load will be less in those patients so that you won’t get severe disease.”

As the number of COVID cases continues to go up, so do hospitalizations. At one point this summer, CCMH didn’t have any COVID patients, but that’s no longer the case.

“So if we act fast and get treatment like this early in the course, it will prevent further transmission,” he said.

Dr. Mada said the infusion is not meant to replace quarantining after exposure or the COVID vaccine.

“If you’re not vaccinated, it is absolutely recommended to get the vaccine,” Dr. Mada said.

He said if someone was exposed and got the antibody treatment, but never tested positive for the virus, the treatment won’t harm them.

“If you were at risk of getting that, then it will prevent it,” Dr. Mada said. “If you didn’t get it, then that’s fine. It will go away in the body. It will metabolize.”

If you’ve been exposed, or you’ve tested positive for the virus, talk with your doctor about getting the COVID antibody therapy at CCMH’s infusion center.