CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A new therapeutic treatment for those infected with COVID-19 is now available in South Carolina.
Members of the Department of Health and Environmental Control said 16 facilities in the state have received what’s called a monoclonal antibody drug.
The FDA announced Saturday it was issuing an emergency use authorization for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ version of this treatment, which is meant to be used in patients who have mild to moderate symptoms from the virus.
Earlier in the month, the FDA also issued an EUA for a monoclonal antibody treatment by Eli Lilly and Company.
According to the FDA, clinical trials showed that these treatments reduced “COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days.”
DHEC says monoclonal antibody drugs have now been allocated to two hospitals in Horry County - Conway Medical Center and McLeod Seacoast Hospital. Conway Medical Center confirmed the therapy allocated to their hospital is the treatment made by Eli Lilly and Company.
“It’s again really exciting that we have an option now for those patients that are sick but don’t need to be in the hospital, which frees up hospital beds for those patients who are more urgently ill,” explained Angela Williford, Conway Medical Center’s vice president of quality.
Williford said the hospital applied immediately when they found out from DHEC that it would be available. DHEC sent out enough doses to CMC to treat 130 patients.
“(We) told them how many doses we thought we could use, and they gave us well more than we expected to receive,” Williford said.
Three patients received the first treatments on Monday.
“They went off without a hitch, no side effects,” Williford said. “So hopefully those are patients that will soon see improvement and not end up in the hospital.”
Williford said they have been seeing an increase in hospital bed usage as COVID-19 cases start to rise again in the area.
“Our staff was extremely stressed during the last surge, and it’s hard to know that our staff is going to experience that during the holidays,” she said. “Staffing gets difficult in the holidays anyway. People want time off to spend with their families and now to have the surge on top of that, it’s not a good situation. So we really need people to do what they need to do: stay home; socially distance; wear your masks.”