TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese medical expert said on Monday (July 5) that using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to treat COVID-19 patients is an effective way to prevent them from becoming severely ill, CNA reported.
As seniors and people with chronic conditions often develop severe COVID-19 infections, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has rushed to purchase monoclonal antibodies from abroad in the hopes of reducing COVID mortalities, CECC specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing.
Chang said the specialist advisory panel has targeted the monoclonal antibody therapy at patients over 55 with underlying conditions, those over 65 without them, pregnant women, and anyone assessed by doctors as needing the treatment. However, a patient's onset of symptoms must have begun within seven days, and they cannot be using oxygen tanks.
The purpose of setting the target groups was to give them the drug before they became severely ill, he added.
From June 19, when the monoclonal antibodies were first distributed to various hospitals, to July 1, a total of 64 patients have received the treatment, Chang explained. The patients consisted mostly of people over 55 years old, three pregnant women, and a small number of organ transplant patients.
Out of the 64, only one developed severe COVID, though the person is now doing well and never needed a ventilator, according to Chang.