A Delhi Hospital on Tuesday pulled two high-risk senior citizen COVID-19 patients out of danger by administering Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail (MAC) therapy.
While Sunirmal Ghatak, 70, with a known heart problem who had undergone angioplasty with stenting in the past, was admitted to the BLK Super Speciality Hospital late last week, Suresh Kumar Trehan, 65, was admitted to the hospital two days ago with severe breathlessness and was unable to lie down due to respiratory distress. His echocardiography showed strained heart with ejection fraction of only 25 per cent.
Both patients had oxygen saturation above 95 percent and came to the hospital within three days of developing symptoms.
"Majority of people recovering from COVID-19 produce antibodies as a defense mechanism against the virus and now, scientists have found that they can produce these very antibodies in a laboratory setting. Monoclonal antibodies are identical copies of an antibody that targets one specific antigen. This treatment has previously been used to treat infections such as Ebola and HIV," Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director and HOD, BLK-Max Centre for Chest and Respiratory Diseases said.
"As per studies this 'Antibody Cocktail Treatment' for COVID-19 can prevent case escalation from mild to moderate illness to severe which then requires hospitalization in 70 per cent of the cases", he added.
According to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), selection of patients for this therapy requires them, to have Covid-19 positive test report, mild to moderate Covid disease, are in the age group of 12 and above, weighing at least 40 kg, and are at a high risk of COVID-19 infection.
Treatment with monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 confirmed patients needs to begin within 10 days of onset of symptoms. However, those on oxygen support are not eligible to avail of this therapy.
Commenting on the effectiveness of the treatment, Dr Nayar said this therapy is most effective if taken as early as possible in the disease course so the sooner the better.
"This treatment is most effective if started within a few days of receiving a COVID-19 positive report. If a person begins to experience COVID-19 symptoms and is part of a high-risk group, they should consult their doctor at the earliest and check if this therapy would be appropriate for them," said Dr Nayar.
"In high-risk patients, receiving treatment earlier, when symptoms are less severe, may help prevent progression of the disease that would otherwise require hospitalization. However, physician consultation and prescription are mandatory to receive this treatment", he added.
Monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy is given through an intravenous (IV) infusion or via subcutaneous route and requires about an hour to administer, followed by an hour of observation and monitoring.
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