RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – For some, avoiding the hospital after a COVID-19 infection often involves stepping into an infusion center. Patients are injected with monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-made proteins that fight infection.
“That frees up hospital beds for acute physicians to be able to take care of patients who are more acutely ill,” said Tammy Hartsell, pharmacy manager at Amber Specialty Pharmacy in Durham.
The CDC said monoclonal antibody treatment can prevent hospitalization by up to 70 percent.
“We just want to see more utilization and more patients stay out of the hospital,” Hartsell said.
Amber Specialty Pharmacy started off providing infusions to people in long-term care. It is now expanding to the general population and offers treatments in-home. In-home infusions are a good option for the home-bound, elderly, or folks with transportation issues. It cuts the number of people an infected person may come in contact with.
“It also is a comfort measure to receive it in the home where you’re more comfortable. You’re more likely to get better more quickly,” Hartsell said.
To qualify, patients need to start treatments within 10 days of symptoms. People exposed to an infected person may also qualify. Patients need an assessment and referral from a doctor to be treated by Amber Specialty Pharmacy or any other infusion center.
“I think most physicians now are aware of it, but I don’t know if they’re aware of the 10-day guideline. We are seeing more and physicians starting to utilize it,” Hartsell said.
She said patients are feeling better soon after treatment. Still, monoclonal antibodies are only the second line of defense.
“The first line of defense is to have a vaccine,” Hartsell said.
To learn more about treatments through Amber Specialty Pharmacy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-370-1724.
Getting COVID-19 treatment at an infusion clinic
Getting monoclonal antibody treatments is a three-step process.
Step 1: Meet eligibility requirements
- You must test positive and have symptoms within the last 10 days
- Have mild or moderate symptoms
- Be at high-risk for serious illness
Step 2: Get approved
- Call your doctor to get a referral for monoclonal antibody treatment
- If you do not have a healthcare provider, call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585.
Step 3: Find a treatment center
- Click here to find an infusion clinic near you