COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Last week a new COVID-19 treatment was offered for the first time in Columbus.
WRBL News 3 was the first to report that Piedmont Columbus Regional was offering outpatient monoclonal antibody treatments.
Sara Katherine Parks, one of the first to receive the infusion locally. The 24-year-old paramedic from Auburn doesn’t look like someone who would be high risk for COVID-19. But she is and she was willing to take the monoclonal antibodies to fight the virus.
“I am a type 1 diabetic and I have a higher risk of developing complications post-diagnosis and just long-term with kidneys, lungs and all that kind of stuff, Parks said.
With the help of her mother, Nessa, Sara Katherine researched the antibody treatment.
“What I really liked about it is that it’s not a blood product,” she said. “With blood products, like the plasma that’s being given to a lot of patients, it is very unpredictable.”
A monoclonal antibody is produced by cloning a unique white blood cell.
You can’t just show up and get this outpatient treatment. You have to the right candidate; you have to get the infusion within 10 days of your first symptoms. And you have to be referred by a doctor.
Piedmont is still in the early stages of the COVID infusion treatments. Officials say the infusion drug is provided to patients at no cost. Other nominal costs like administrative and pre-med fees may apply and can be billed to insurance.
Parks weighed the risks.
“The con is there is not a lot of research on it,” she said. “Again, there is not a lot of research related to anything on COVID. ….”
Then she sought the treatment at Piedmont Columbus Regional, which began offering it last week on the renovated fifth floor of Doctors Hospital.
She was given the drug Bamlanivimab.
“They call it ‘the Bam Bam’ because it’s so hard to say,” she said.
The process to get the infusion took about an hour and was not difficult. Parks had to be under observation for about an hour after the procedure.
“It was super easy,” she said. “They walked me up and made sure they took all of the proper precautions because I am COVID positive. They gave me pre-medicines, Benadryl and Tylenol. … I slept through the treatment actually.”
A day after the treatment, she fills much better.
“I feel a lot better,” Parks said. “Lingering headache for the past week. I do not have a headache now. I slept well last night.”