There are two new COVID-19 treatment centers to help North Texas patients who are sick, but don't need hospitalization.
The monoclonal antibody treatments are said to help people recover much faster.
Monday, therapeutic infusion centers in Irving and Fort Worth began accepting patients.
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“I know dozens of people who have received this antibody therapeutic drug and they all say the same thing: They were shocked at how quickly they were able to overcome COVID,” Governor Greg Abbott said Monday at a mega-vaccine site in Arlington.
The treatment is for people in the early stages of COVID-19 with mild to moderate symptoms.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.
At the centers, patients get an IV of a drug made by Eli Lilly or Regeneron which the FDA authorized in November.
“That [Regeneron] is the drug that was taken by President Trump after he got COVID-19 and was able to recover from it so quickly,” said Gov. Abbott.
Monoclonal antibodies are not from people who've already beaten the virus, or convalescent plasma.
Instead, Dr. Beth Kassanoff-Piper, president of the Dallas County Medical Society, says the antibodies are manufactured in labs.
“This really is better than convalescent plasma because this is more standardized. You're able to know exactly how much you're getting in a vial,” said Dr. Kassanoff-Piper.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management partnered with the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and a local company to give the infusions.
Each center can treat up to 50 people per day, a TDEM spokesperson said.
The service is free but patients can't just show up. They have to get a referral from a doctor first.
Early study results show the antibodies may reduce the rate of hospitalizations by up to 70%.
“I've seen it work and I think it's a great treatment,” said Dr. Kassanoff-Piper.
Thirteen monoclonal antibody centers are planned across Texas. Cities including El Paso, Laredo, Harlingen, Lubbock, Amarillo, Hereford, Wichita Falls and Austin already have centers up and running, the TDEM spokesperson said.
Providers seeking to refer patients should contact the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, the spokesperson said.
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