Vaccinated Powhatan man receives antibody treatments after contracting delta variant
POWHATAN, Va. (WWBT) - Powhatan resident Thomas Cooper and his wife did what many vaccinated Virginians and Americans have been doing for weeks: Taking a vacation to visit family not seen in more than a year.
Unfortunately, Cooper says he brought back more than just new memories.
“We got back from Florida around Sunday afternoon and I felt a little weak, and I was experiencing body aches,” Cooper said. “Sure enough, I had COVID.”
Cooper says the doctors at Patient First - where he got tested - confirmed that he and his wife both contracted the delta strain of the coronavirus, which has quickly become the most dominant strain of the disease in the United States.
Cooper says he and his wife are both medical professionals and received the Pfizer vaccine in the early phases of the rollout. Despite experiencing some symptoms of the disease, Cooper says he believes the vaccines kept the worst of the symptoms at bay.
“My symptoms probably would have been worse if I didn’t have the vaccine,” Cooper said.
But not wanting to take any chances, Cooper says his wife recommended that he also seek alternative treatments to ensure that his condition didn’t get worse. The search led him to Infusion Solutions, a Henrico health clinic that specializes in infusion therapies to help people who caught COVID-19, even after getting the vaccines.
Medical Director Dr. Patrick Oliver says his clinic has already served more than 100 eligible patients with antibody infusions, designed to boost the immune system to better fight back the COVID-19 infection.
“The monoclonal antibody, and it basically gives you immunity within about an hour,” Oliver said. “Even if you get infected, it decreases how sick you possibly get.”
The treatments are done in one of the company’s six COVID suites. In order to be a candidate for monoclonal antibody therapy, patients must have at least one factor that would place them at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection:
- Age ≥65 years BMI >25 kg/m2
- Chronic kidney disease
- Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment Cardiovascular disease or hypertension
- Chronic lung disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders or other conditions that confer medical complexity
- Having a medical-related technological dependence (not related to COVID-19)
Oliver says these antibody IV infusions are intended for people with pre-existing conditions who have COVID symptoms but have not yet developed the severe disease, but as effective as they can be, he says the treatment is by no means a replacement to the vaccines.
“This is a pandemic that has killed over 600,000 Americans. I mean it’s real, it’s as contagious as a COVID is, but the difference is it’s deadly,” Oliver said.
As Cooper recovers, he hopes people will learn from his circumstance and not get too comfortable as cases pick up.
“I was sick, but imagine how sick I could’ve been if I wasn’t vaccinated,” Cooper said. “I do believe the vaccine works for the people who have it, for the people who don’t have it, it would help your family and other people to have this extra covering of protecting people you know and you don’t know.”
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