COVID-19 antibody treatment centers open across North Texas
The Texas Division of Emergency Management has launched more than 20 COVID-19 antibody infusion centers across the state since August. The newest opened two days ago in the Texarkana suburb of Nash, which will help the stress on hospitals by treating mild and moderate COVID-19 cases.
The centers use a treatment from the pharmaceutical company Regeneron, which is a solution of two lab-made antibodies that boost the body’s ability to fight infection.
Regeneron's treatment, according to data from clinical trials, helps decrease the severity and length of symptoms, which include difficulty breathing, loss of taste and smell, and fever. It also reduced the need for hospitalization by around 70%.
It’s not meant to be a preventive measure used to protect people from becoming exposed to the virus or to treat people with severe cases of COVID.
The infusion centers are a key part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s approach to navigating the coronavirus surge that hit Texas in July and finally has slowed in recent weeks. He said in a press release in mid-August that the centers would “help increase bed capacity in hospitals so that resources are available for the most ill patients.”
But, over the past few months, cases and hospitalizations have skyrocketed across the state, including an increase in cases among children since school started. More than 154,000 children have been infected with COVID-19 since Aug. 8, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Hospitals, especially pediatric hospitals, have seen record numbers of patients in the ER with the virus. Daily coronavirus case counts for Dallas County still top over 1,000, although that’s down from an earlier peak a few weeks back.
While the infusion centers will provide immunity support for people who have been exposed to the virus, both the FDA and the CDC report these treatments are not supposed to replace getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
In North Texas, there are public facilities in Fort Worth, McKinney and Nash, plus other private locations open for treatment.
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