Montgomery County, Texas – As Montgomery County reports the highest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations yet, a new antibody infusion center opened on Monday.
“It has everything we need to do, whatever we need to do, including plenty of real estate, beds, all that stuff,” said Judge Mark Keough.
Keough said the goals of the facility are to help people and ease the burden on area healthcare facilities. The hope is to prevent people who come down with the virus from getting very sick and ending up in the hospital.
“Hopefully it will stem some of the tide of the overwhelming of the hospitals,” said Keough.
The county judge got an inside look at the facility earlier in the day and shared some photos on Facebook.
So what does the Regeneron treatment include?
“It’s a man-made antibody to fight against COVID,” said Dr. Yuriko Fukuta, an asst. professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine.
Fukuta said people who get sick develop their own antibodies but the process can take time. The infusion can help boost the immune system and fight infection, she said.
“It’s not perfect and compared to original COVID-19 strain, it may not be so effective, but it’s still effective,” Fukuta said.
She said the treatment is for higher risk people, such as patients 65 and older and those with certain underlying conditions.
Dr. Jennifer Shuford, the chief state epidemiologist, said the infusion should be performed within a certain window.
“The emergency use authorization says it needs to be within ten days of developing symptoms,” Shuford said.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the facility can treat around 90 patients a day with infusions.
Patients need a COVID positive test result as well as a referral from a health provider, DSHS said. They also need an appointment. DSHS said an appointment hotline was created and that information has been shared with doctors and providers.