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Healthwatch 16: COVID-19 infusion therapy

The Wright Center for Community Health in Scranton is offering a new outpatient infusion option to treat some patients with the coronavirus.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have a new treatment option available that may help keep them out of the hospital.

The Wright Center for Community Health in Scranton is offering a new outpatient infusion option to treat some patients with COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibodies found in the treatment are lab-created proteins that aim to target and neutralize the virus.

"These are the antibodies that prevent the virus from sticking to certain receptors in our body, into the cell. Hence, they prevent the cascade of inflammation that occurs as a result of the virus attaching to our body's cells," said Dr. Jignesh Sheth, chief medical officer of the Wright Center for Community Health.

Dr. Sheth says the infusion is through an IV, and typically takes about an hour.

As of last week, he says the Wright Center had done 43 infusions.

"Nobody landed in the hospital, so zero hospitalizations and 55 percent were over the age 75," he said. "Age plays a big role. If we are able to give them antibodies, it's a lifesaver for them. None of them ended up in the hospital."

To be considered for the treatment:

  • You must be at least 12 years old,
  • You must have tested positive for COVID-19 using a PCR nasal swab test,
  • You must not be hospitalized or require oxygen for your symptoms,
  • You must be either 65 or older or have underlying medical conditions considered high-risk for developing COVID-19 complications.

Dr. Sheth points out you do not need to be symptomatic and you don't need to be a Wright Center patient. Referrals are welcome from community physicians. He says so far, the results have been promising.

"Some of them were almost 99 percent better in a day. The majority of them were better at the three-day mark, after the infusion."

For questions, or for more information about COVID-19 infusion therapy, you can get more information from the Wright Center here or call 570-941-0630.