New therapeutic drug to help against early stages of COVID-19

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Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Health announced on Tuesday they have received a therapeutic drug called bamlanivimab which would help COVID-19 patients in the early stages of the virus.

The drug is an IV treatment and certain requirements must be met; a person must be 65 years or older or the person has to have certain chronic medical conditions.

Medical experts in the Birmingham area say this new development is a big step.

“The fact that we have vaccines coming out, potentially as well as new therapy’s is all good news,” Dr. Michael Sagg with UAB said.

Dr. Sagg says the new treatment helps patients with symptoms like headache, sore throat, and fatigue.

“They send them over for a test, they test positive,” Dr. Sagg said. “So we are in day two, that might be a good time to pull the trigger on it.”

Though there are some problems ahead, such as price and availability for the drug.

“We know from every other anti-body like this, it’s going to be very expensive,” Dr. Sagg said.

With both this new treatment and the a vaccine in the possible near future, experts still say things are somewhat grim at the moment.

“We are in the absolute worst situation right now in terms of new cases,” Dr. Sagg said.

So strick protocols like mask wearing and socially distancing are being heavily advised.

“This is just the beginning. We haven’t hit Thanksgiving yet. So what we all need to do is quadrouple down on things we know,” Dr. Sagg said.

“To just put it down as a hopeful development. It should not change anybody’s behavior. It should not change how we are trying to take care of ourselves and our community,” Dr. Jeane Marrazzo said.

The Department of Health is working with providers to come up with a plan to help distribute the treatment in the coming days.


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