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COVID-19 antibody infusion center coming to College Station

Monoclonal antibody infusion has shown to decrease symptoms and hospitalizations in COVID-19...
Monoclonal antibody infusion has shown to decrease symptoms and hospitalizations in COVID-19 outpatients.(KY3)
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 9:33 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 11:44 AM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A COVID-19 antibody infusion center is opening in College Station, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday morning.

The infusion center will open to the public Thursday, Sept. 30. With a doctor’s referral, outpatients will be provided with monoclonal antibodies, for no cost. The facility will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the St. Joseph Urgent Care located at 4411 Highway 6 S.

“Monoclonal antibodies are an artificial way of providing antibodies to the body when we haven’t made our own or don’t have enough to effectively fight the infection,” St. Joseph Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kia Parsi said. “It’s limited. It can fight the infection when we first have or are exposed to the infection, but do not have that delayed immunity that you do have with a vaccine. Receiving a vaccine helps your body produce its own natural, healthy antibodies, antibodies that can defend and protect you from a serious infection.”

It’s the second infusion center to open in Brazos County since Friday after a mobile team from TDEM set one up on the Texas A&M University campus.

The St. Joseph facility will be able to treat up to 45 patients a day and use Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies, according to Brazos County officials. Patients must be confirmed COVID-19 positive within ten days of showing symptoms and have a referral from a primary care physician.

“I know from personal experience that Regeneron treatment can be effective in recovery from COVID-19, and I’m grateful the governor is making it readily available in Brazos County and this region,” said Brazos County Judge Duane Peters.

“After that seven to ten day period, what’s going on with your illness is less the fight against the virus and more your body’s inflammatory reaction causing complications,” Parsi said. “After ten days, there isn’t much virus to fight. It’s really your body’s own inflammatory process that’s causing an illness. Thus, there’s not much effect for monoclonal antibodies after ten days because it’s not treating anything that’s causing your symptoms at that point.”

COVID-19 antibody infusion treatment can prevent a patient’s condition from worsening and requiring hospital care, according to a release from the governor’s office. These facilities also help increase bed capacity in hospitals so that resources are available for the most ill patients.

“If they can get them in a timely manner, they can help shorten the illness and also prevent worsening of conditions that may require hospitalizations,” Parsi said.

Brazos County, the City of College Station, the City of Bryan and St. Joseph Health Hospital partnered with the governor and the Texas Division of Emergency management (TDEM) to bring this facility to the community.

“This facility in Brazos County will ensure Texans in the Bryan-College Station region who test positive for COVID-19 have access to this free and effective treatment,” said Abbott. “Thank you to our local government partners and St. Joseph Health Hospital for working with us to open this new infusion center.”

While Parsi says we want every tool possible to keep our community healthy, he still encourages everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, Parsi says over 80% of those hospitalized with COVID at St. Joseph are unvaccinated, and 100% of those in their ICU infected with the virus are unvaccinated.

“For those who are vaccinated or those who are not vaccinated and then they catch the infection, monoclonal antibodies are an effective treatment, but prevention is much better than actually treating an infection,” Parsi said.

Antibody infusion centers are currently operating in the following communities, with more in the planning stages:

  • Amarillo (TDEM)
  • Austin (DSHS)
  • Beaumont (TDEM)
  • College Station (TDEM)
  • Corpus Christi (DSHS)
  • Edinburg (TDEM)
  • Fort Worth (DSHS)
  • Harlingen (TDEM)
  • Houston (DSHS)
  • Laredo (DSHS)
  • Livingston (TDEM)
  • Lubbock (TDEM)
  • McKinney (TDEM)
  • Nacogdoches (TDEM)
  • Nash (TDEM)
  • Odessa (TDEM)
  • San Antonio (DSHS)
  • Seguin (TDEM)
  • Tyler (TDEM)
  • The Woodlands (DSHS)
  • Victoria (TDEM)
  • Waco (TDEM)

Patients can contact the infusion center by calling 979-690-4478. For those who think they need antibody treatment but don’t have a primary care doctor, Parsi says they can visit St. Joseph’s respiratory clinic at their south College Station location or schedule a virtual appointment with a physician to get a referral.

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