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3 mobile clinics will offer monoclonal antibody treatment to ‘high-risk’ people who have COVID-19

A Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment clinic in Florida.Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

The Baker administration on Tuesday announced the deployment of three mobile clinics offering monoclonal antibody treatment to “high-risk” people who either have COVID-19 or who’ve been exposed to the potentially deadly virus.

The state Department of Public Health said two of the sites, in Fall River and Holyoke, started administering monoclonal antibody treatment Nov. 22. The third site, in Everett, will launch Friday.

With the addition of the three mobile sites, residents can now access the treatment at 32 publicly available locations.

The three mobile sites, officials said, can treat a combined 500 patients per week with the monoclonal therapies. The state says the therapies have a track record of reducing the severity of disease and keeping COVID-positive people from being hospitalized.

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The single intravenous infusion treatment takes 20 to 30 minutes, officials said, followed by an hour of patient monitoring. If given within 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the one-time therapy is “highly effective” in neutralizing the virus and blocking symptoms from worsening, according officials.

Referral from a health care provider is required to obtain treatment at one of the new mobile clinics, the DPH said. The treatment is free and offered regardless of a patient’s immigration or health insurance statuses, according to a statement from the health agency.

“These mobile sites enable individuals with early COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19 to be treated quickly and safely with monoclonal antibody infusion,” said state Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke in the statement. “While the best protection against COVID-19 is vaccination, these therapies can help prevent hospitalization and severe illness for infected or exposed high-risk individuals. People with questions about whether this treatment is right for them should discuss it with their healthcare provider.”

The Boston Globe reported in September that some states with much lower vaccination rates than Massachusetts have taken the lead in using the monoclonal therapy to keep COVID patients out of the hospital.

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The Globe reported at the time that as infections were continuing to climb, and hospitals across the state were stretched thin, Massachusetts was racing to catch up on the monoclonal front.

The drugs, which are typically delivered by infusion, are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the body’s immune system and stop the virus, keeping people with COVID from getting seriously ill, if taken within 10 days after symptoms appear.

Preliminary research has indicated the treatments can reduce the risk for hospitalization and death by about 70 percent, and can shorten the average duration of symptoms by four days (down from 14 to 10 days), compared to patients who did not receive the treatment, the Globe reported in September.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.