Dole VA encourages monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID patients

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Some local hospitals are helping COVID-19 patients with antibody treatments. The Dole VA Medical Center is trying to prevent veterans from ending up in the hospital by using this type of infusion.

The medical center cites a 97.36% success rate in preventing hospitalizations using the monoclonal antibody treatment. It’s for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have a higher risk of becoming severely ill.

Testing positive for the virus was a surprise for Ryan Kimble. He was fully vaccinated in January.

“I was expecting it to come back as allergies or a cold, normal things that you get. So, whenever they told me, that I was positive, I was kind of shocked,” said U.S. Army veteran Ryan Kimble.

This army veteran chose to get the monoclonal antibody treatment at the VA. He’s one of 76 people who’ve received this infusion at the VA Medical Center.

The Wichita VA location administered its first monoclonal antibody infusion on Dec. 18, 2020. Of the 76 who have received infusions at the Wichita location, two people have been hospitalized.

“It’s comforting to know, that we have the VA here with this type of treatment to help us, veterans,” said Kimble.

Dr. Mel L. Anderson is the executive director for the National Hospital Medicine Program. He said the treatments help disable the virus before it causes more damage to the body.

“For folks who have tested positive and have either mild to moderate symptoms, that are in various categories of being at risk for serious disease, the antibodies are recommended whether or not you’ve been vaccinated,” said Dr. Anderson.

To receive the treatment, you must meet one of the following qualifications: be older than 65, obese or overweight, pregnant or have one of these diseases or disorders.

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“We have evidence that it’s effective. I think maybe the more important reason is that age and obesity, presence of diabetes, but age especially is the number one risk factor for dying from COVID,” said Dr. Anderson.

Kimble said he chose to get vaccinated and get the antibody treatment to avoid getting severely ill or dying and protect his family.

“I didn’t want that. I have a wife and 3 young children.”

Ascension Via Christi in Wichita is also administering the antibody treatment, Regeneron, for those who are at high risk of becoming severely ill. At St. Francis, 182 patients have received this therapy. More than 100 of them were given treatment this month.

If you are a veteran, you can call the Dole VA at 1-888-878-6881 and ask for the Viral Clinic.

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