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Expert explains when monoclonal antibody treatments work best for COVID-19

Pop-up site in Jacksonville offers treatment for those with referral from doctor

Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, offers his take on the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19.
Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, offers his take on the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a new rapid response unit is giving Jacksonville residents a fighting chance against the virus.

A pop-up site on East Bay Street at the grassy former home of the Duval County Courthouse began administering monoclonal antibody treatments this week to patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, said the treatments, like the drug Regeneron, are human-made proteins designed to help COVID patients fight off the virus, but it’s just a temporary solution.

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“This particular monoclonal treatment has been shown to reduce hospitalizations in 70% of the people who have been infected. These antibodies are for short-term success,” Joshi emphasized. “They will get you through an episode of infection, but they do not provide long-term immunity. That’s what the vaccine does.”

Right now, only people with referrals from their doctors can receive treatment at the pop-up site.

“Folks with immune deficiencies are folks that would potentially benefit from this type of treatment if they were to be infected and test positive early in their course,” Joshi said.

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If a person is approved, the treatment will be administered in one sitting through four shots. Although doctors have confirmed that this treatment is effective against fighting off the virus, Joshi strongly encourages people to take the vaccine.