EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced the creation of a coronavirus antibody treatment infusion wing at the state-run makeshift hospital for Covid-19 patients inside the El Paso Convention Center.
The bamlanivimab infusion wing accepted its first patient on Tuesday afternoon. A Hispanic man, said to be under the age of 65, was selected by doctors at University Medical Center for the three-hour treatment process.
"The establishment of the bamlanivimab infusion wing at El Paso's alternate care site is crucial to keeping hospitalizations down and protecting at-risk Texans in the community," Abbott said in a state. "I thank HHS for supporting our efforts by supplying the State of Texas with this shipment of bamlanivimab for the pilot program. We will continue to ensure that this life-saving antibody therapy is available for Texans who need it most."
The therapy has been shown to prevent hospitalizations in some patients when used before they become very sick.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Armando Meza told ABC-7 that these antibody treatments work similarly to a vaccine in the sense they provide antibodies against a virus.
“Antibody protection really happens at the early stages of the infection, so if you're going to get this treatment, it's going to have to be within the first few days of becomming symptomatic or infected,” said Meza, chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. “Only patients who are at particularly high risk of having severe complications will be the ones who will be given these antibodies.”
The convention center has been used to treat Covid patients with moderate to mild symptoms.