MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A Modesto health center is now offering free alternative treatment for COVID-19 patients with high-risk conditions.
Tony Santillan didn’t hesitate to take a relatively new type of treatment when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this year, being one of the first to receive a COVID-19 antibody treatment given through an IV.
“What do you got to lose? That’s the way I figure it,” Santillan said. “No side effects, no nothing.”
Dr. Elaine-Joy Soriano with Golden Valley Health Center said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration halted the use of that kind of treatment in May after it was shown to no longer be effective against newer COVID-19 variants.
But after six months of further studies and trials, Dr. Soriano says an improved monoclonal therapy that can treat all COVID-19 strains is now available.
“This medication is approved for those with mild to moderate symptoms,” she said. “It has been replaced with combination monoclonal antibody, which means to say, there are two antibodies in one preparation. And one example of those is what we are currently going to use for our patients.”
The treatment consists of a one-time, four-shot procedure with injections into either both arms and legs or a patient’s abdomen.
“Like the vaccination, right, it induces your body to produce protection from the COVID these are available antibodies already that are given to you to fight off the infection,” Dr. Soriano explained.
The antibody therapy is available at Golden Valley Health Center in Modesto for those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and who also have at least one other high-risk condition, like diabetes, heart disease or a compromised immune system.
Dr. Soriano added that access to these lab-produced antibodies can save lives.
“If we prevent them from getting hospitalized, there will be less patients in the hospital. There will be less patients in the ICU and less families affected tragically with this COVID-19,” Dr. Soriano said.
Some symptoms of the treatment include allergic reactions, flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhea and low blood pressure.
Dr. Soriano said Santillan has been a patient of hers for years so she’s happy this treatment worked for him.
“Makes me feel proud of him actually for making this responsible decision to be treated,” she said.
“I felt good because I thought I’m doing something for myself and my family, you know? And maybe that made me even feel better,” Santillan added.
Golden Valley Health Center said the antibody therapy is free and is offered to everyone even if they’re not a patient.
Dr. Soriano added that while the treatment is effective, it is not an alternative to getting vaccinated.