University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health recently administered the 5,000th monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 in the University of Maryland Medical System, according to a news release.
A monoclonal infusion center was opened in February on the UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center campus in Bel Air and has administered the second-most number of monoclonal antibody treatments across UMMS, providing more than 540 infusions, according the release.
Monoclonal antibody treatments are given to patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for serious illness. If given within 10 days of symptom onset, monoclonal antibody treatments have demonstrated the ability to reduce progression of severe COVID-19 and the need for hospitalization.
The 5,000th systemwide treatment was administered to Dr. Edward Arrison, an anesthesiologist who is a Havre de Grace resident, according to the release. He was fully vaccinated but ended up catching COVID-19. Arrison was part of the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, which began about a year ago through Pharmaron.
When Dr. Arrison wasn’t feeling well and after he tested positive for COVID-19, he reached out to his primary care provider, who referred him to the mAb clinic at UM UCH about receiving the monoclonal antibody therapy.
“I am thankful that I had this option to come and get this procedure done. It was totally painless, took about a half-hour and I feel great,” Arrison said in the release.
Mary Ghaffari, Director of UMMS Clinical Pharmacy Services, explained, “A monoclonal antibody is an immune protein that is manufactured in a laboratory by the pharmaceutical companies and is designed to bind to a specific receptor in the body to help prevent worsening of symptoms and decreases the risk of hospitalization and death.”
While not a substitute for vaccination, monoclonal antibody therapies have been used to treat diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders since the mid-1990s, according to the release.