As medical experts continue to battle the rise of the delta variant, one health system has been given emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration to expand a specific antibody treatment.
And they say this particular remedy has shown to significantly decrease hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
At a press conference this week, UPMC announced they will be offering monoclonal antibody treatment for those exposed to the virus.
With the delta variant causing many cities and communities to reinstitute COVID precautions, experts needed to rise to the occasion and limit the spread of the virus with renewed urgency.
With the FDA giving emergency authorization to allow expanded antibody treatments, an effective preventative measure has now been given the green light.
“So, UPMC will soon offer this antibody treatment as something called ‘post-exposure prophylaxis’. We will offer this in outpatient and in-patient settings, our senior care communities, and urgent cares,” explains Infectious Disease Pharmacist Dr. Erin McCreary.
And there’s two ways it can be given.
“This post-exposure prophylaxis treatment will be administered through the vein or as an under-the-skin injection, whichever the patient prefers,” said McCreary.
However, there’s a laundry list of qualifications to get it, and it starts with having confirmed exposure to the virusand not having gotten vaccinated.
“So, with the exposure, you also need to be either not fully vaccinated, which would mean that you have not received your second dose, or you are within two weeks of your last dose, and so you haven’t achieved that full immunity yet, or you’re unvaccinated, or you have a compromised immune system, like our solid organ transplant patients,” McCreary explained. “And then you also have to have a high-risk criteria for severe illness from COVID-19, whether that criteria be your age, body weight, or a chronic condition such as diabetes or kidney disease.”
However, Dr. McCreary still says the vaccine is still the best way to stave off the illness.
“I do want to take a moment to emphasize that while this preventative therapy is very, very exciting and promising, vaccination remains the most important way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the serious health consequences of COVID-19,” McCreary said.
UPMC officials say they don’t have an exact date for when the treatment will be available locally.