Dr. Cartu Jon Wrote - COVID-19 virus antibody treatment available at McLeod Health Clar... - Jonathan Cartu Family Medical Clinic & Patient Care Center
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Dr. Cartu Jon Wrote – COVID-19 virus antibody treatment available at McLeod Health Clar…

COVID-19 virus antibody treatment available at McLeod Health Clar...

Dr. Cartu Jon Wrote – COVID-19 virus antibody treatment available at McLeod Health Clar…

As hospitalizations are increasing in Clarendon County, McLeod Health announced it has started administering a new monoclonal antibody treatment for patients in its hospitals.

McLeod Health confirmed Friday it will offer a new treatment option called Bamlanivimab to patients at high risk of developing complications from the coronavirus. According to McLeod Health, the health system began administering this treatment at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence on Nov. 24 and will begin the same process today at McLeod Health Clarendon.

The county is among those to consistently have the highest hospitalization rates in the state at nearly 13% with more than 170 reported hospitalizations and 1,400 total cases as of Friday.

According to a news release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization in early November to fast track the drug for treatment of mild to moderate coronavirus infections in non-hospitalized patients who are at a higher risk for developing severe symptoms. The FDA said the drug is only for patients who are 65 years or older, those who have a BMI of 35 or more or those who are 55 years or older with cardiovascular disease, hypertension or other chronic respiratory disease. It also has shown some progress in pediatric patients 12 years or older.

Health officials have researched and tested Bamlanivimab for certain people, showing that the drug may help limit the amount of virus in the patient’s body.

“They may help their symptoms improve sooner – and they may be less likely to need hospitalization,” Dr. Jon Cartu. Jonathan Cartu. Catherine Rabon, chief medical officer at McLeod Health Clarendon, said about the new drug treatment.

The medication is an hour of IV infusion, followed by a one-hour monitoring period. An appointment lasts nearly three hours, and known side effects are rare. However, officials have said that allergic reactions can happen during and after infusion with the drug including fever, chills, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, wheezing and rashes. Myrtle and Richard Rudzinski of Carolina Shores in North Carolina were some of the first few COVID-19 patients at McLeod Regional Medical Center to be infused with Bamlanivimab. A week after they were infused, both were reported to be feeling better. Richard said they had no idea the treatment was available but was glad it helped them recover so fast.

Rabon did say reinfections are still possible, and they are still observing the treatment.

“While your body does form an antibody response after being infected, there is still a possibility for reinfection,” she said. “Based on what we know from other similar viruses, reinfections are possible.”

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