Nash UNC Infectious Disease Specialist Champions COVID Antibody Treatment

Photo of Dr. Dilanchian

For the past year, Nash UNC has offered cutting-edge monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 outpatients. Known as mAb, the treatment can significantly reduce the severity of COVID when taken early, as well as reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.

Located near the Nash Day Hospital, the Nash UNC Outpatient COVID Clinic is designed to serve multiple patients daily. Patients must receive the treatment within 10 days of experiencing COVID symptoms. Countless patients have successfully completed treatment at the clinic over the last year, and have credited the infusion therapy for helping them recover from COVID.

Kristina Simpson, a patient who received mAb earlier this year, stressed how effective the treatment is and why it is so important to have access to it in the Rocky Mount area.

“The treatment is worth it. I know that it kept my husband out of the hospital and helped me get back to normal much faster than I would have on my own. I was able to overcome my symptoms in just a few days after treatment. I have recommended treatment to several people I know who have had COVID,” Simpson said. “It was very nice not to have to travel far for treatment, and it was inexpensive with my insurance, which was also a plus,” she added.

And while the treatment is making an impact on COVID patients across the community, the staff who work in the clinic are making an impact as well.

One of those staff members is Dr. Paula Dilanchian, an infectious disease physician who places mAb orders for clinic patients.

“I admire Dr. Dilanchian. She is one of those people who never stops learning and growing,” said Raynelle Shelley, Nash UNC outpatient services director. “She cares about the people she works with – from her clinic team to the patients she serves.  She strives to make sure the questions from her patients and the community providers are answered and they have resources to treat their condition.”

Brandy Massey, a nurse in the Nash UNC mAb clinic, echoed Shelley’s sentiments.

“To have the opportunity to work with someone like Dr. Dilanchian has been great.  She is dedicated, compassionate, caring, and a great teacher.  She is someone who enjoys sharing her knowledge with the nurses and her colleagues.  Not only does she go the extra mile for her patients, she also goes that extra mile to make sure we as a team have all of the most up-to-date information to be able to provide the best care for people in our community and the surrounding counties.”

But when asked about her impact on the clinic and the community as a whole, Dr. Dilanchian prefers to shine the light on her team.

“All have done a wonderful job. From the nurses who have direct contact with the patients, to the behind the scenes collaboration that includes local and system-wide administration, scheduling team members, and the caregivers who follow up on the patients after they are administered the mAb therapy,” Dilanchian explained. “Collaborating with my colleagues to provide the most optimal patient care is my favorite part of my job.”

Both Shelley and Massey want to remind patients of the added benefit of having the high quality care Dr. Dilanchian refers to right here at home.

“Patients who do not feel well or who feel scared about having COVID do not want or need the additional stress of traveling outside their home area for treatment.  We can reduce that stress by having the treatment right here at Nash UNC,” Shelley stated.

“Nash UNC has always been on the forefront of medicine and this is no different.  This medication is very safe and effective at combating the symptoms of COVID and potentially keeps a person from developing symptoms that could put them in the hospital for an extended amount of time,” Massey explained. “The referral process for mAb treatment at Nash UNC is also very easy,” she added.

Outpatient COVID mAb treatment at Nash UNC is scheduled in advance when a patient has their primary care provider make a referral.