Lewis County Board of Health Discusses Monoclonal Antibodies and Natural Immunity


Submitted by Lewis County Board of Health

At the Lewis County Board of Health meeting earlier this week, monoclonal antibody treatments, a treatment option to help those with COVID -19 and who are at high risk of developing serious symptoms, was an item of discussion during a presentation on the topic given by Lewis County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick.

The human body naturally makes antibodies, however, it may not have antibodies designed to recognize a new virus, states the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab to fight a particular virus, in this case, the virus that causes COVID-19. This treatment option is “effective at reducing hospitalization rates by around 70%,” said Melnick.

Treatment eligibility is for individuals who have COVID-19, have not yet developed severe symptoms, are at high risk for developing severe symptoms, and can get the treatment within 10 days of initial symptoms, according to Melnick.

Those guidelines set a crucial window of time for an individual to recognize and then seek out this COVID-19 treatment option. Those seeking this treatment should visit The Washington State Department of Health’s website which shows locations that offer those treatments in Lewis County and around the state. “We should be doing whatever we can to promote their (monoclonal antibody treatments) use in those people that are eligible,” stated Melnick.

Changing the focus to infection-induced immunity, Commissioner Sean Swope asked whether using natural immunity as an alternative to vaccination was being discussed in medical communication circles and with the Washington State Department of Health.

“The science around it is being discussed at the state level and with state health officers. I have not been in discussions about policy-type decisions that would be made with that,” Lewis County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager answered. “We just don’t have the data on COVID-19 yet,” Melnick added.  “It is something we need to be working on and looking at.”

Locations with monoclonal antibody treatments can be found here.

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