Fairbanks Memorial Hospital explains the monoclonal antibody treatment process

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Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 4:45 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Among the arsenal of tools for combating COVID-19, monoclonal antibody treatments are one of the best ways to help fight off an infection.

According to Tracy Wolter, RN Senior Manager with Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the treatment can prevent further spread of the infection.

“A monoclonal antibody is kind of a manufactured antibody that we use for patients that are diagnosed with COVID-19,” Wolter explained, “and the nice thing with the monoclonal antibodies is that it helps stop the viral replication process. If we can get [patients] early enough in their disease process, they won’t get any worse. It won’t take all the symptoms completely away, but it does help them feel better - and some patients actually walk out of here feeling a little bit better. Then we do phone calls following up, and they do quite well.”

The process for receiving a treatment is relatively simple, with some patients feeling relief quickly after finishing.

“The first thing of course is having your positive COVID test and seeing a physician,” Wolter elaborated. “Once that’s ordered, we meet you outside of the facility, walk you back in through the IV therapy unit, and we explain kind of the process that we’re going to do and provide education material for the monoclonal antibody. Once you agree to that, we start an IV. Pharmacy mixes up the medications, [which take] about 30 minutes to install for the patient, and then it’s an hour observation. Then, as long as the patients have no further questions or symptoms, they’re free to leave the hospital.”

Along with the usual procedure, staff also watch and observe the patient in case of a negative reaction or side effect according to Wolter. “We do watch for symptoms of any shortness of breath, chest tightness, things like that. If those things were to occur, we pause the infusion. We have medications that we can administer. We can call the physician and just kind of report symptoms. A lot of times they just recommend that we restart the infusion but at a much slower pace.”

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