‘If you are to get COVID, we have this treatment’: Manitoba woman shares her experience of new antibody treatment to fight COVID-19

WINNIPEG –

Manitoba recently launched a new treatment to help those who have been infected with COVID-19 and one woman now is sharing her experience.

As of Dec. 20, Manitobans can be referred for a monoclonal antibody treatment program that is being offered at several locations throughout the province.

To qualify for the treatment, Manitobans need to have a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, symptoms for less than seven days, and then be part of one of three groups.

The groups include:

· Group one—being unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, having no history of a COVID infection and being 40 or older;

· Group two—being unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, no prior infection history, being between the ages of 18 and 40-years-old, and conditions/risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease or cancer; or

· Group three—being 18 or older regardless of vaccination status and being immunocompromised.

Shared Health says the treatment is a, “one-time intravenous treatment” and it is, “expected to reduce the severity of illness and hospitalization rate for some patients by promoting an initial immune response in those with no prior antibodies to COVID-19.”

Jane Kraut, who is a nurse and is doing a master’s degree in nursing at the University of Manitoba, has psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disease she takes medication to help deal with.

She said last week COVID-19 started to make it through her house of five and she eventually tested positive using a take-home rapid test.

Before going to get a PCR to confirm the rapid test results, Kraut said she called her doctor to talk about her medication and that is when she learned about the new treatment.

“She actually said, ‘Have you heard of the monoclonal antibodies because you are eligible,'” said Kraut.

She said she was aware of the treatment, but thought it was only for unvaccinated people and she has already received three doses of the vaccine.

“We had a chat about that and it basically came down to, well it’s not going to hurt if I do it, but it could help and we would hate to look back and say, ‘we didn’t do it and something bad happened.'”

Normally, people need to have a confirmed PCR test and COVID symptoms but Kraut’s doctor helped push the treatment through with a referral because other people in her house were positive for COVID-19.

Kraut then had her appointment confirmed on Christmas Eve and she received her treatment on Monday.

During the treatment, Kraut live-tweeted what was happening, saying it helped her pass the time but it also allowed her to share with others who might also benefit from the treatment.

“It’s an IV treatment, it runs over a one-hour time period … and then we were monitored for an hour just to make sure we didn’t have any allergic reactions.”

Kraut said it was a painless experience and noted health-care providers checked up on her Tuesday to see how she was feeling.

A day after getting the treatment, Kraut said she doesn’t feel too different but thinks she is starting to recover.

“It’s not like I really notice it that much, but if in the end, I end up staying out of hospital and living, I will be happy that I did it regardless.”

She added despite receiving three COVID-19 vaccine doses, she eventually decided to do the treatment because she feels it’s important to use all options possible to fight diseases.

For those who might be debating this treatment or haven’t heard of the treatment before, Kraut has some advice.

“There are a lot of people who are immunocompromised in some way or have underlying conditions … and if you are to get COVID, we have this treatment available and they should definitely use it.

“If they are interested and want to do something, they have to act fast, because it is something you have to do in those first seven days.”

She added if people don’t have a doctor to refer them, they can call Health Links to see if they qualify.

A spokesperson for Shared Health said despite having this treatment available, getting vaccinated is still the best way to prevent infection.

More information about the treatment can be found online.

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