OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — Officials with Opelousas General Health System announced that its South Campus, along the I-49 service road, is now a treatment site for monoclonal antibody therapy (mAb).
According to hospital officials, monoclonal antibodies are man-made antibodies produced in a laboratory that can mimic the human immune system response to infection. mAbs are designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, thus neutralizing the virus that causes COVID-19.
This site is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with the ability to serve approximately 50 patients daily. For mAb therapy, patients must have a referral by their physician, community clinic or urgent care clinic. Only medical providers can schedule appointments via the Louisiana Department of Health’s clinical hotline at (337) 678-4700.
“We have been offering monoclonal antibody infusion since it became available but have only been able to do so in a limited capacity, due to staffing constraints and the need to shift staff to care for inpatients,” said Opelousas General Chief Population Health & Clinical Integration Officer Tim Marks. “We have seen significant improvement in COVID positive patients who meet the criteria and receive the infusion, in many cases reducing the severity of symptoms and reducing the need for being hospitalized. Through the collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Health, we were able to secure much-needed physician, nursing, and administrative staffing to better meet the needs of our community.”
Monoclonal antibody treatments must be prescribed by a physician. The treatment is done by intravenous (IV) infusion. mAbs may only be administered in settings in which health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat severe infusion reactions, such as allergic reaction, and the ability to activate the emergency medical system, as necessary. The new infusion centers all meet this requirement.
Monoclonal antibody treatments may be used for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who are within 10 days of the start of their symptoms, at least 12 years of age or older and weigh at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds), and are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.