Monoclonal antibodies help Colorado patients fight COVID

Coronavirus

ELLICOTT, Colo. (KDVR) — People battling COVID in Colorado now have the opportunity to be treated with monoclonal antibodies to help decrease the severity of the illness.

“By Wednesday morning I lost my taste and smell so I knew something must really be going on,” Betina Tacoronte, who received monoclonal antibodies at Fort Carson in southern Colorado said.

Tacoronte said she was sick for almost two weeks. She tested negative twice for COVID but tested positive after being tested a third time a week and a half later.

“Initially I was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and bronchitis. Then I had COVID so I think I had a double whammy,” Tacoronte said.

She called over to Fort Carson since her military records are there. She said she was screened then approved to get the antibodies later that day.

“I have pre-existing conditions and that helped me be qualified for the antibodies,” Tacoronte said.

Tacoronte said she isn’t vaccinated against COVID because of underlying health conditions.

She said the entire process of getting the antibodies and fluids took about an hour.

“You go in it’s a little IV bag they hook up. It takes 20 minutes for them to go in and they follow with an actual IV bag,” Tacoronte said.

Tacoronte said she feels significantly better on Saturday compared to the past week.

“I can tell you I do feel better, not 100%, but for sure better than yesterday,” Tacoronte said.

Dr. Carrie Horn, chief medical officer at National Jewish Health said there are some qualifications needed in order to be eligible for the antibodies.

“You have to have any underlying health conditions, be over the age of 12 with those medical conditions or being over the age of 65,” Horn said.

Some of those health conditions are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, any type of cancer or chemotherapy. She said it’s also important to keep in mind the timeframe in which the antibodies will work.

“When you have symptoms, that’s when the timer starts and you have 10 days to get that treatment in,” Horn said.

Horn said the antibodies are reactive when getting COVID but the vaccine is the proactive step.

“It’s that stage if I can try and keep you out of the hospital but my preference, is start with the vaccine so you don’t get sick to begin with,” Horn said.   

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