EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – More than 700 people in the Chippewa Valley have received monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatments from Mayo Clinic Health System.
Since the FDA approved an emergency use authorization for the treatment in Nov. 2020, the health system has been using it to treat high-risk virus patients.
Monoclonal antibody treatments are designed to keep people out of the hospital. According to the FDA, they are proteins made in a lab designed to mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses.
Mayo Clinic Eau Claire physician assistant Lori Arndt said they’re meant to kick start the immune system.
“It blocks the virus from attaching to your cells and prevents you from developing severe COVID symptoms,” she said.
In mid-January, Bob and Joyce Wachsmuth tested positive for COVID-19. Bob Wachsmuth, 70, has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a type of lung disease. After his positive test, a Mayo Clinic doctor saw his file and recommended he receive monoclonal antibodies.
“I had more of a feeling of relief that because I had these underlying things, this was available to me and probably would hasten the recovery and keep me out of the out of the hospital or shorten the stay,” Bob Wachsmuth said.
A cancer survivor, Joyce Wachsmuth, 67, also qualified for the treatment. As a retired nurse, she didn’t think twice about whether to take the experimental therapy.
“I had such severe pain in my body and joints that anything that would give me relief was very much appreciated,” she said.
Hours after receiving the hour-long infusion, Joyce Wachsmuth said the pain started to subside.
“It was very prompt that those monoclonal antibodies were doing their job,” she said.
But most importantly for Bob and Joyce Wachsmuth, they’re feeling better.
“I feel like COVID hit kind of like a long time ago actually when I put it all into perspective even though it’s only been three weeks,” Joyce Wachsmuth said.
“I’m feeling good. Like I said, it doesn’t feel like it’s that short time,” Bob Wachsmuth said.
Arndt said a vast majority of patients who received monoclonal antibodies avoided hospitalization.
Though patients receive the infusion in the hospital, they can home later that day.
Arndt said patients who receive monoclonal antibodies must wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
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