The Louisiana Department of Health is now operating six federally supported monoclonal antibody therapy (mAb) treatment sites and is on track to open seven additional sites through the end of next week.
Each site will be open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an ability to serve more than 150 patients daily per site.
KATC spoke with LDH OPH Regional Director Dr. Tina Stefanski, serving region 4, which makes up most of Acadiana.
Dr. Stefanski says while local hospitals have done a great job at supplying the infusion, there’s still a need for more access.
“Its the same medication, it’s the same process, everything is exactly the same,” she said. “The only difference is that this is increasing access and helping to relieve some of the pressure on the healthcare system.”
The treatment is meant for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in high risk of developing severe illnesses.
“The goal of these infusions is to stop the replication of the COVID virus in your body and to shorten the course of the illness, and also to avoid the progression to more serious illness,” she said.
Dr Stefanski says although this treatment has been highly effective, the priority is stopping the spread of the virus altogether.
“Vaccination is still the number one, ultimate thing that you can do to prevent your health, it’s to get vaccinated and prevent infection in the first place,” she said.
Dr. Stefanksi also stresses the fact that if you’re high risk, and think you might've been exposed to the virus, get tested as soon as possible. That’s because the earlier you know you’re infected and you get the infusion, the better the treatment works.
These are not walk-in sites; your medical provider must schedule your appointment.
Federally supported mAb sites operating as of September 17 are:
Big Lots: 404 N. Canal St., Thibodaux, LA 70301
Burton Coliseum: 7001 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles, LA 70607
Byrd Regional Hospital at Deer Creek: 810 S. 10th St., Leesville, LA 71496
Clinton Alternative Learning Center: 9414 Plank Road, Clinton, LA 70722
Rayne Civic Center: 400 Frog Festival Drive, Rayne, LA 70578
Rapides Coliseum parking lot: 5600 Coliseum Blvd., Alexandria, LA 71303
Dates and locations of additional sites set to open include:
Saturday, September 18
State Farm Building: 24 Accent Drive, Monroe, LA 71203
Monday, September 20
Blackham Coliseum: 2330 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503
Houma Municipal Community Center: 880 Verret St., Houma, LA 70360
Louisiana Fairgrounds: 3701 Hudson Ave., Shreveport, LA 71109
Moorehouse General Hospital: 323 W. Walnut Ave., Bastrop, LA 71220
Thursday, September 23
DeQuincy Ball Fields: 97 Bond Road, DeQuincy, LA 70633
Saturday, September 25
1316 LA 6, Campti, LA 71411
Louisiana received its first allocation of monoclonal antibodies on November 12, 2020 and began administering to positive, symptomatic patients immediately.
In addition to the federally-supported sites, there are 143 providers statewide that had received mAb shipments they could administer as treatment.
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.
Patients need to be referred by their doctor or other healthcare provider to a facility that offers mAb therapy such as a hospital or an infusion center. Those without a provider can be referred by an urgent care, community clinic, emergency department, hospital, etc.
Patients with a positive COVID-19 viral test should speak with their healthcare provider to determine whether they are eligible for mAb treatment and to discuss potential benefits and side effects.
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 a high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
The federal government has developed a search-able national map that show locations that have received shipments of monoclonal antibody therapeutics under FDA EUA authority, within the past several weeks. The scalable map is at https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/therapeutics-distribution.
A call center is available to answer questions and provide information related to mAb therapeutic treatments at 1-877-332-6585 (English language) or 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish language).
In order to be eligible for mAb treatment, the patient must meet all of the following:
- Have a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 (molecular/PCR or antigen)
- Are within 10 days of the start of their symptoms
- Are at least 12 years of age or older and weigh at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds)
- Are at a high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization
Patients are reminded the procedure takes at least two hours. This includes 30 minutes to receive the infusion, then 1.5 hours of observation.
For patients who are taking medications, they should take their regular doses before treatment. It is also OK to eat before the treatment.
For more information about mAbs, visit this site.
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