Alert

Published on April 23, 2021

Nash UNC Offering Outpatient COVID Treatment

ROCKY MOUNT, North Carolina (April 23, 2021) –

Nash UNC Health Care is participating in an investigational infusion therapy for COVID positive patients.

Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Therapy has been authorized by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as an investigational treatment for COVID-19.

People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms can choose to receive this treatment, which may prevent them from needing hospitalization.

“Antibodies are part of our natural defense against viruses, but they take time for the body to make,” says Dr. Paula Dilanchian, medical director of Nash Infectious Disease. “Antibodies designed to attack COVID-19 have been developed in the laboratory, and in several studies have been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and hospitalization when given early to people who test positive for COVID-19.”

This therapy is given as an infusion at Nash UNC's outpatient COVID Treatment Center, but not all COVID positive patients may qualify to receive this treatment.

The criteria for patients to be considered for monoclonal antibody infusion therapy at Nash UNC’s COVID Treatment Center are:

  • Testing positive for COVID-19
  • Having at least 1 or more mild-to-moderate symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, etc.)
  • Are above the age of 65, or less than the age of 65 but with a chronic health problem that puts you at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms; including obesity, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, and others.
  • Not currently admitted to an inpatient facility or hospital

Dilanchian explains that for the most effective treatments, monoclonal antibody therapy needs to be given as soon as possible after COVID symptoms begin—ideally before 10 days of symptom onset.

“Some COVID patients say they feel better between the first 3 to 5 days of having symptoms and refuse this treatment, however their symptoms may worsen as time goes on.,” said Dilanchian. “When deciding whether or not to receive monoclonal antibody infusion therapy, it’s important to realize that the patient will not qualify for the treatment if symptoms exceed 10 days,  even if symptoms progress. So making the decision quickly is essential.”

“We have been offering this therapy to patients since November of 2020. Since then, we have treated over 160 patients and have seen positive effects in lowering the symptoms in many of those patients,” said Dr. Crystal Hayden, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at Nash UNC Health Care.

“When our COVID census started to rise earlier this year, we began looking at the data to uncover where the cases could be coming from. While doing that, we noticed that many of our hospitalized COVID patients were offered monoclonal antibody therapy soon after receiving their positive COVID test, but did not choose to have the treatment. Though receiving any kind of medical care is a personal decision, we encourage those who are eligible for this therapy to highly consider it, knowing that it could possibly lower your symptoms.  As we have improved education and awareness of what this therapy is, we are seeing more patients participate and benefit from this treatment,” said Hayden. 

To find out if you are at high risk for severe COVID symptoms and eligible for monoclonal antibody infusion therapy, please call the UNC COVID Help Line at 888-850-2684, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.