HOUSTON — As COVID-19 cases have climbed, so has the number of people needing monoclonal antibody infusions.
Governor Greg Abbott’s office shared he received the therapy after testing positive for the virus this week.
The treatment is authorized for anyone 12 years old and up who tests positive for COVID-19 and is at a high risk of severe illness.
“We’re treating almost 700 people a week, over that, in fact,” said Dr. Howard Huang, an expert in monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 and medical director of the Lung Transplant Program at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Dr. Huang says monoclonal antibodies work as an early intervention. Clinical trials found the IV infusion reduced hospitalizations and death by 70 percent. Houston Methodist has partnered with Next Level Urgent Care to make the therapy more accessible.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has an online map showing where the treatment is available across the country. There are dozens of providers in the Houston area.
“These are Band-Aids in terms of what we’re doing with these therapies. We’re treating several hundred around the city while thousands are becoming infected,” Dr. Huang said.
He says monoclonal antibody therapy reduces the stress at already overloaded hospitals, but vaccination is the only way to prevent a surge from happening again.