Harrisburg, Pa. (WHTM) — UPMC has been offering a monoclonal antibodies treatment for patients with COVID-19 since December.

“Locally we will hit about one thousand patients this weekend and across UPMC, at all of our locations, we have given over six thousand doses,” Amy Helmuth, vice president, Quality, UPMC Central Pa., said.

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According to Helmuth, monoclonal antibodies are just like the antibodies your body produces when it fights illness.

“These are antibodies that are man-made in a laboratory. They have found the specific proteins that attack the coronavirus and it attaches to the spike protein on the coronavirus and prevents that spike protein from attaching to your cells,” Helmuth said.

The treatment does not get rid of the virus, but prevents it from getting worse.

“The data that UPMC has, it has s kept 70% of those 6 thousand patients out of the hospital,” Helmuth said.

The medication is administered through an IV infusion. The entire process takes about an hour and a half.

To be eligible for the treatment, the individual must:

  • have positive test for COVID-19
  • have symptoms for ten days or less
  • be 65 or older
  • or be 12 years of age or older with a medical condition or history

“The biggest lesson for us is it really does work the earlier you receive it . If you are having symptoms, go get a COVID test, and if your test does come back positive we can get you in for treatment earlier,” Helmuth said.

Your doctor can refer you for the treatment or you can contact UPMC directly.