KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — People at high risk for complications from getting sick with COVID-19, now have access to monoclonal antibody treatment. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is one of many places offering monoclonal antibodies to some children with COVID-19.
Monoclonal antibodies are administered by infusion. They quickly activate the body’s immune response, making it harder for the virus to spread and cause infection. Dr. Julia Arana, a Children’s Hospital Physician, says that it’s like giving your body’s immune system a boost until it can mount its own response to the virus. The CDC says the treatment should be started as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test.
Children must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for monoclonal antibodies:
- Over the age of 12
- At high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- This includes children who have a compromised immune system due to chronic medical conditions such as sickle cell disease, cardiovascular disease, or chronic lung disease.
- Not currently hospitalized with the virus.
- Has a referral from a primary care physician
According to Arana, Children’s Hospital is scheduling about 10 monoclonal antibody infusions per day. The hospital is emphasizing that this treatment is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19. They are also strongly encouraging anyone who is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For those with concerns, Arana suggests talking to your doctor or your child’s doctor.