BOISE, Idaho — Local health experts say the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, but new treatments are also improving people's outcomes after they get sick.
A monoclonal antibody treatment (mAb) facility is now open in Boise to provide the service to eligible COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Ryan Williams, managing director of Direct COVID Care (DCC) said the new treatments can help lower the risk of severe illness and hospitalization.
“Monoclonal antibody treatment has been shown to be effective at decreasing hospitalization and decreasing death by up to 70 percent,” Williams said. “It’s most effective if you get it early on in your disease course. Ideally within the first 10 days of getting symptoms from COVID-19.”
To receive treatment at the facility, patients must have a referral through their primary care provider. Medical staff at DCC will administer the treatment through an infusion or injection procedure.
“IV will be inserted into one of your veins and then the medication will be infused within 20 minutes or so, with an hour-long observation period. With the subcutaneous treatment, it’s four different subcutaneous injections of the same medication, one in each arm and then one of each side of the abdomen,” Williams said.
Dr. Williams said the monoclonal treatment was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA for individuals with a high risk of hospitalization. He hopes this service will be another layer to prevent hospitalizations and relief for hospitals.
“Particularly, our valley has been hit really hard with COVID admissions. This has put an enormous strain on our health care professionals. This will greatly decrease the admission rate for patients that have COVID. Thus, decompressing our hospitals and allowing for elective surgeries to be open, allowing more specialty care, as well as better access to care in the hospital's systems," Williams said.
The center's efforts are part of a partnership between the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Central District Health, and DCC. The center can see up to 100 patients a week, and it can offer treatment to individuals 12 years of age and up.
The new mAb center will be operating three days out of the week and for more information, you can call DCC at 208-850-7886.
While #vaccines remain your best defense against COVID-19, a new facility in Boise is offering greater access to a promising COVID-19 treatment for those who are at high risk for serious illness.— Central District Health (@CDHidaho) November 16, 2021
Read more at https://t.co/VNC4x10PLC pic.twitter.com/pCKCE9kuVe
According to Central District Health, there is no cost for the treatment.
What is the cost of this treatment, and how is it ordered and given?
- The treatment is free regardless of insurance status, with no patient out-of-pocket costs.
- Treatment is ordered by a licensed provider (a provider referral is required to get mAb treatment).
- The antibodies are delivered in one of two ways:
- SQ Injections: Four subcutaneous injections given over the course of 5 to 10 minutes, followed by a 1-hour observation period.
- IV infusion: Infusion given over 20 minutes, followed by a 1-hour observation period.