LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We’ve been hearing a lot about monoclonal antibody infusions used to treat COVID-19 in adults. The treatment is designed to lessen the severity of the virus and keep people out of hospitals and off ventilators.
That same treatment has also recently been given emergency use authorization for children 12 years and older.
Dr. Chad Rodgers at the Little Rock Pediatric Clinic said the antibody infusion mimics what the immune system would normally do when it’s fighting a virus.
“So, for people that don’t have immunity to Covid, or that have limited immunity, it gives them antibodies that are specific to the coronavirus,” Dr. Rodgers said.
Dr. Rodgers says the infusions are designed for kids who have tested positive for Covid-19 and who also have high-risk medical needs.
“Like being overweight, having diabetes, maybe having chronic lung disease, asthma,” Dr. Rodgers said.
Pediatricians say the infusions can greatly reduce the risk for hospitalization.
“It’s the most effective treatment we have right now, beyond vaccination, in order to prevent kids from getting sicker,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the treatment needs to be done before symptoms get so severe that a child needs to be hospitalized.
“Once you’re going to the hospital or you’re ending up on oxygen, it’s too late to get the antibody,” Rodgers said. “In fact, it may be harmful at that point to get it.”
Doctors want to make it clear the infusion is not a preventative treatment against Covid.
“The best way to prevent getting Covid is to get vaccinated,” Dr. Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the infusion itself takes about 30 minutes and is given slowly through an IV. He said you only need one dose.