JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ monoclonal antibody treatment is making a difference in treating patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to the virus. Now, we’re getting a close-up look at how this treatment is administered.
Crucial Care Clinic is offering the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment dose provided for free by the federal government. It’s under an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
”The FDA is helping the drug company to get it to the community...instead of sticking to the old process which might’ve delayed it for years,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodaro, the chief medical officer at Crucial Care, who has 30 years of experience in the field of medicine.
He points out, though, that this is only a short-term solution. ”Likely they will follow a full FDA approval,” Dodaro added.
Crucial Care provides the treatment dose during a visit with a physician who is board-certified in emergency medicine, and patients get it through an IV.
”It takes about 30 minutes to an hour,” Dodaro said.
Typically at state-run sites, it follows a subcutaneous (SQ) fluid administration, so it is distributed among four different shots: two to each arm and two to the stomach. It’s the same dosage (600 mg), with the same goal: to help patients struggling with COVID-19 symptoms feeling better, and prevent those with high-risk conditions who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 from getting sick.
Dr. Dodaro told Action News Jax the IV takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
Toma Dean got her treatment at the library site in downtown Jacksonville, where a photo of her on the ground, waiting in line, went viral.
“Within about 34-36 hours, I knew I was going to make it,” she told us during a press conference at the Duval County Health Department.
Dodaro says your body can take up to 14 days to create antibodies, and these synthetic ones kick in within 24 hours, working alongside the natural ones.
”There’s no feedback that would tell your body not to make antibodies,” Dodaro explained. ”It’s been relatively amazing,” he remarked. “The virus almost doesn’t have any way to survive.”
However, as beneficial as this treatment is, Dodaro stressed the critical importance of vaccines and masks, which he says should still be peoples’ first line of defense against COVID-19 and getting sick.
”Vaccines and masks are the front lines of treatment,” Dodaro emphasized. “Those are the things that make the most difference and prevent us from getting the disease.”
Like many clinics, this one offers COVID-19 vaccines and COVID testing as well.
While COVID-19 treatments are offered for free, Crucial Care patients are responsible for the costs associated with an urgent clinic visit.
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