There’s a new weapon in the fight against Covid-19 to keep people out of the hospital in South Florida.
More than 100 monoclonal antibody treatments, known as Regeneron, have been administered at Broward Health Medical Center in the last week to try and keep people from becoming patients.
“This is not for someone with severe symptoms, this is not for someone who is hospitalized, not for someone hospitalized on oxygen,” said Dr. Aldo Calvo, the medical director of ambulatory services at Broward Health Medical Center.
Doctors say Regeneron needs to be administered within a few days of a positive Covid diagnosis in order for it to be 70% effective.
Other eligibility requirements include being 12 or older, weighing at least 88 pounds, being Covid positive with mild to moderate symptoms and having at least one high-risk factor such as obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
The hospital is extending the treatment to kids because of a spike in the number of Covid patients ending up in the pediatric intensive care unit. In July, there were five cases of kids with Covid in the ICU for the month. Less than three weeks into August, the pediatric ICU has already had 18 Covid patients.
“What we don’t know is what is the long term effect of this infection itself. Is this going to leave young children with injury to the lungs and not able to perform at 100%? These are things we don’t know, so these are things we can do to help prevent that,” said Dr. Venu Devabhaktuni, who works in pediatric intensive care.
The treatment is free, and administered through an IV infusion that takes less than 30 minutes in an outpatient clinic.
It’s more intrusive than the one or two-shot Covid vaccine, which remains the best defense against the virus.
“I want to make sure there is a great distinction that this is not the solution for this pandemic, the solution is getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Calvo.