People at considerable risk of developing severe COVID-19, including millions of Americans with compromised immune systems, now have the option of receiving a preventive monoclonal antibody treatment if they have been or are at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus, NBC News reported Thursday.
"We see this as an opportunity to be able to help patients that are either COVID-19positive, unvaccinated, or patients that perhaps may not be mounting an immune response because of being immunocompromised," StarMed CEO Mike Estramonte told WCNC Charlotte's Ashley Daley Thursday. "The main goal being to prevent hospitalizations."
Hospitalizations in both North and South Carolina continue to rise because of the delta variant of the coronavirus. As of Wednesday, over 2,300 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in North Carolina and 1,166 in South Carolina.
As of Thursday, North Carolina has administered 100 antibody treatments, according to Estramonte. His group scheduled 28 additional treatments Thursday.
An estimated 3% of Americans are immunocompromised, according to NBC News data. Immunocompromised conditions include autoimmune diseases, HIV patients, cancer patients, and organ transplant recipients.
Public health officials continue to urge eligible Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"This is not a substitute for vaccination," Estramonte said. "Vaccinations mount much difference immune response and that’s the way to go."
This antibody treatment is the first time an injectable coronavirus antibody treatment has been approved for use as a prevention of COVID-19 after someone has been exposed to the virus.
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