PUEBLO, Colorado — People who test positive for COVID-19 in Pueblo now have another resource to potentially avoid getting sick enough to need to be hospitalized. The health department teamed up with Matrix Medical to bring a mobile antibody clinic to the Pueblo Mall.
The facility administers monoclonal antibody treatments. The mobile clinics are part of a statewide strategy to try and reduce the pressure on hospitals as cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 continue to surge.
"Early on, right when you're diagnosed with COVID-19 and you're moderately sick, you can go in for monoclonal antibody treatment that reduces the chance that you'll be hospitalized by 70 percent," said Governor Jared Polis.
Dr. Adit Ginde, MD, MPH of the Colorado School of Medicine explained that monoclonal antibody treatments work similarly to convalescent plasma where a person who has recovered from COVID-19 shares antibodies with a patient in need.
"These are proteins that are made in the laboratory that are based on antibodies that came from people who have recovered from COVID-19," Dr. Ginde explained.
Researchers found that the lab-made proteins are effective at grabbing onto the spike proteins of the COVID virus and blocking it from infecting other cells.
"These are highly effective at clearing the virus preventing hospitalization and death and helping patients recover quicker," said Ginde.
The US Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization to antibody treatments produced by four different manufacturers.
One of them, called Regeneron, was given to former President Donald Trump last October after he tested positive for COVID. At the time, Regeneron was undergoing clinical trials at the Colorado School of Medicine.
The key to successful treatment involves early intervention. Patients seeking antibody treatments at the mobile clinic must fall into one of the high-risk groups. The onset of symptoms must also have occurred within the past 10 days.
Ragan Sasaki, who has underlying health conditions, told News 5's Ira Cronin on Wednesday that her doctors recommend the treatment right away.
"The next day I did start feeling better and then the second day I really started feeling better," she said. "I am a huge runner and I'm back to running like normal and I'm a teacher and I'm back at school."