Monoclonal antibodies COVID-19 treatment gain popularity

[Star Tribune, September 29, 2021] A persistent lack of appointment slots at health systems across the metro is forcing patients to drive far from the Twin Cities to receive a promising treatment for COVID-19.

Infusions of monoclonal antibodies, an outpatient treatment for patients within 10 days of first symptoms, became available in Minnesota during late 2020. From the start, health care providers in the seven-county metro area have provided a disproportionately small share of the statewide total — less than 10% of the doses administered, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Health systems say there has been fluctuating demand for antibodies, since they scaled down infusion operations when patient interest in the treatment was almost nonexistent in June.

"Suddenly, in the last six weeks, the demand has skyrocketed," said Dr. Venkat Iyer, vice president for medical specialties at Allina Health Group. "But it always takes time to build up capacity."

Allina has increased its volume of infusion treatments to about 30 per week, Iyer said, and expects to add more.

"The problem is too few of us are giving this treatment," he added.

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Posted on September 29, 2021 in coronavirus

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