RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Thursday expanding access to monoclonal antibody treatments that have the potential to prevent people from dying of COVID-19.
The emergency-use treatment is used on high-risk COVID-19 patients who experience symptoms within 10 days of testing positive. This treatment is similar to what was used on former President Donald Trump when he had COVID-19.
“We’re trying to have it in more places. We know monoclonal antibodies are very effective, particularly in early-stage symptomatic COVID cases,” Cooper said of the benefits.
The infusion treatments take 30 to 60 minutes to complete and can help reduce symptoms and prevent hospitalization.
“It’s been designed to attach to the virus so that it doesn’t hurt you any longer,” said Dr. David Wohl, an infectious disease expert at UNC Health. “And in clinical trials, it reduces the risk of ending up in an emergency room or the hospital by about 70 percent.”
Right now, they’re offered in more than 60 locations across the state, including hospitals in the Triangle. The executive order will allow that number to grow by allowing testing sites and other medical settings to offer monoclonal antibody infusions.
“We’re trying to spread this out so that there can be more places for this to be administered to people,” Cooper said. “And this executive order waves some regulations to allow that to happen.”
Just like the vaccines, this antibody treatment is free and covered by the federal government.