Mayra Arana made a phone call on September 17, and she says it saved her life. She was vaccinated against COVID-19, but she experienced a breakthrough infection.
Since her immune system was crippled from the years-long treatment of leukemia, she was afraid that the virus might kill her.
Her family doctor advised her that there was nothing she could do besides stay at home and take a rest.
Monoclonal Treatment, We Just Need More People And Doctors Realize It
Following the doctor’s advice, she stayed home but she felt sicker with every passing hour. Her husband checked her oxygen level by using an oximeter and it showed that it was decreasing.
She says that she kept praying to God.
She got more worried and called the University of California San Francisco’s oncologist. Her family doctor was wrong, there is after all treatment available for the early COVID-19 stage.
But she had gotten so weak that she could not walk. Her husband, a custodian and school bus driver took her to UCSF Fresno. She then struggles to acquire doses of monoclonal antibodies but finally gets them and receives treatment.
She said that she started feeling better the next day and in just two days she was out of bed on her own to feed her children. She believes that those antibodies saved her life.
A CNN investigation shows that she wasn’t alone in the problem of finding monoclonal antibodies. Many patients have never been recommended this treatment by their doctors, even when it has been authorized for more than a year by the FDA. This treatment can be administered in COVID-19’s initial stages and studies have proven that it can drastically reduce the chances of serious sickness, hospitalization, and death.
The federal government including Dr. Anthony Fauci has made multiple attempts to educate doctors on this issue, but the problem still persists.
UCSF School of Medicine’s professor and infectious disease expert, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong believes that it is unconscionable. Hong said that the drug is provided free of cost by the government and has multiple benefits but there are several barriers to access it.
If people learn about this treatment, there is yet another challenge awaiting. This COVID-19 infection started rising in the fall and summer, many community groups and hospitals started helping large numbers of people to get access to this drug. But many huge medical centers said that as they have a shortage of staff and resources, they could not administer more than a handful of doses to people.
The director of policy at the American Hospital Association, Akin Demehin said that many hospitals cannot allocate resources to provide monoclonal antibody treatment.
Several patients are out there hunting for this drug, not knowing where they can access it.
Harvard Medical School’s associate professor and infectious disease specialist, Dr. Lindsey Baden said that this situation has made us realize a big flaw in our system and we need to fix it.
President’s senior medical adviser, Fauci urged the doctors all around the country to use this treatment in a White House briefing. He noted that this treatment can reduce the risk of COVID-19 seriousness by 70 to 80%
Fauci said that it is very effective against COVID-19, and it is very much underutilized. He said that he recommends everyone to use this treatment to its fullest. He said that they want doctors and patients out there to understand that this treatment is advantageous and effective in curing early COVID-19.
He said that it is important for most people to understand that this treatment works. He said that he is trying to make doctors understand that this treatment should be administered more but a lot of doctors don’t really appreciate it.