Mississippi’s top doctor touts monoclonal antibody treatments as state experiences COVID-19 surge

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 2:48 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As Mississippi deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases, leaders are urging Mississippians who do get infected to ask their doctor about a treatment that was used to help former President Donald Trump.

Doctors say it could make the difference between life and death in certain high-risk groups.

When it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the best way is to get vaccinated.

But for those who refuse and do become infected, Dobbs says monoclonal antibody treatments may offer help.

“That is such an effective way to keep out of the hospital and also to prevent death,” said Dobbs.

Monoclonal antibody treatments help your body by making it harder for the COVID-19 virus to reproduce.

The FDA granted emergency use authorization last year to help those most at-risk for developing severe COVID-19, including people 65 and older and those with chronic conditions.

Dobbs advises people to talk with their doctor about whether the treatment is right for them.

“The long and short of it is if you get COVID the first thing you do is talk to your doctor about monoclonals, even if you don’t feel that bad yet,” said Dobbs. “You don’t want to wait until you’re so sick it’s not going to work for you.”

Doctors say monoclonal antibody treatments can be used to treat those with mild to moderate infections.

They are not effective in treating severe infections.

They provide only temporary, short-term immunity.

But if given early enough, they could prevent more serious illness.

“If you’re someone who is vaccine-hesitant and haven’t made that jump yet, don’t be antibody-hesitant,” said Dobbs. “If you get COVID, we don’t want to be having the conversation as you’re getting wheeled into the ICU, saying, ‘Hey Doc, what can I do about it?’ Now it’s too late.”

Mississippi has more than 40 locations offering this type of treatment.

Dobbs says the state has requested 10 federal teams to help administer treatments to more people.

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