NEW YORK - Known as the 'Trump Cocktail,' monoclonal antibodies are synthetic proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off viruses and are currently approved in the United States for outpatient treatment for the coronavirus.
"The part of the virus known as the spike protein--the virus uses to essentially gain entry into the body, inject itself into our DNA, into our viral machinery and start making copies of itself," says Dr. Suraj Suggar the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Holy Name Medical Center. "So if used early on--the first seven days up to 10 days of illness or since a positive test--it can be very effective and prevent people from developing severe disease requiring hospitalizations, as well as death."
Dr. Suggar adds the logistics surrounding the treatment are not always easy and the key is to identify those who need it the most.
"They may have diabetes, they may have high blood pressure, lung disease, smokers, older age, etc. These are all risk factors that we know with covid that you can progress to some more severe disease. So we're trying to identify those patients while they may not be so sick early on because they have the potential to progress. So we want to intervene early."
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New Yorker Diana Berrent was one of the first people in the United States to contract COVID-19. She founded Survivor Corps, a growing network of over 150,000 COVID-19 survivors. Berrent says anyone sick with the virus can get treatment now and the message is getting lost in the "vaccine noise" or focus on vaccinations.
"This treatment is not just for the powerful--it's not just for the rich and famous. This is our treatment. It is free and it is sitting on shelves and we need to get it into arms."
Berrent added former President Donald Trump, Gov. Chris Christie and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani all received the same treatment and it likely saved all of their lives.
"This is a remarkable, remarkable treatment--and we cannot let it go to waste. We need to make sure that it gets into every community because this is available to all Americans. It doesn't matter whether you have insurance or not."
For more information, go to GotCovid.org.
Dr. Suraj Suggar is a primary investigator for both Regeneron and Eli Lilly which produce monoclonal antibodies used in treating the coronavirus.