It's been more than one year since the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed. Since then, great strides have been made in battling the disease, and new medical strategies continue to emerge.
Dr. Amy Khan from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says so far vaccines are proving to be a great defense against the virus.
"We're very excited, of course about the vaccines, and based on the initial and ongoing studies, the vaccine has been shown to be not only safe but very effective in protecting individuals from severe infection."
When it comes to vaccine distribution and administration, Dr. Khan says, overall Utah is doing well, with more than 450-thousand residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more on the way.
“The Utah Department of Health has reported that we'll have an increased supply of vaccine that's slated to come to Utah. In fact, they reported 1.2 million doses are planned to be sent to Utah," says Khan.
Currently, vaccines are a primary weapon against COVID-19, but another goal is to find ways to lessen the severity of the disease in those already infected. And, Dr. Khan says there is is promising news.
“There's a monoclonal antibody therapy, that's available for persons who are infected with COVID-19 and have certain high-risk conditions," says Khan.
Those high-risk conditions include heart or lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, among others. Dr. Khan says the relatively new therapy has been shown to significantly slow the progression of COVID-19.
“It really has halted the progress to severe illness or illness that might require a visit to the ER hospitalization, so very promising therapy."
The treatment differs from convalescent therapy, which is an infusion of plasma from a previously infected individual. Monoclonal Antibody Therapy is a laboratory developed, synthetic protein infusion.
“They can be specific and target those spike proteins that are exhibited on the surface so it is different than convalescent plasma, but they are specific for the spike protein," says Khan
For those with chronic illness battling COVID-19, monoclonal antibody therapy is showing great promise. And for all Utahns, Dr. Khan urges to stay the course with masks, hand washing, and staying informed.
"I'd suggest checking back to the Utah Department of Health website to get further guidance on how to help keep our businesses open our schools open reclaim our lives and our livelihood," says Khan.
If you would like more information on monoclonal antibody therapy, or if you have any health-related questions you'd like answered, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.