Antibody treatment sees success in New Jersey in fight against COVID-19
While more Americans wait for the COVID-19 vaccine, a treatment for those who already have the virus is showing positive results in New Jersey.
“I felt terrible, I really did,” says Garfield resident Jimmy Noonan. “I was very worn down.”
Noonan describes how he felt one week ago, the same day that he received what’s called a “monoclonal antibody treatment” at RWJ/Barnabas Health. But today?
“It’s not even a full seven days later…and I could go three rounds right now,” he says.
Administered via infusion, antibodies are meant to bolster one’s own immune system against the virus. Patients get it in an ER and are sent to recover at home. The hospital system has already given the therapy to over 2,000 people at 11 locations across New Jersey. Dr. Chris Freer runs the program for RWJ/Barnabas. He says the goal is twofold.
“The two goals are better patient outcomes, but we also want to reserve our resources and not have patients hospitalized,” Freer says.
To qualify, patients must test positive for COVID-19, be high-risk and not require hospitalization. With a 95% success rate, doctors and their patients call the treatment a strong weapon in the ongoing battle against the virus.
“It’s like you’re at war with an invisible enemy and now you’ve given something to us emergency physicians and pharmacists and doctors to fight it,” Freer says.
Noonan says that he is grateful for the treatment.
“I feel terrific, and to think there’s this thing out there what would have saved so many people and saved them the symptoms,” he says.
Anyone eligible can receive the antibody treatment, not just current RWJ/Barnabas patients. People who are interested in the treatment should contact their personal physician rather than showing up at an emergency room.