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Maui clinic now offering antibody treatments for COVID


It’s been a week since Kaiser Permanente set up a special clinic to provide monoclonal antibody treatments for patients in order to prevent hospitalizations. The Maui Lani clinic was set up as high case counts in the intensive care unit at Maui Medical Center were soaring — and stressing health care workers.

So far, 16 people have received the treatments. The Maui Lani facility has the ability to give antibody treatment to eight patients a day.

Regeneron is given to patients when initial COVID-19 symptoms are mild or moderate in order to prevent the need for critical care. The doses provided by FEMA are administered through a series of shots — what healthcare officials often refer to as subcutaneously, or Sub-Q. It's a total of four shots — one in each arm and one in each leg.

Patients are then monitored for an hour after the treatment to make sure there are no allergic reactions.

The earlier the treatment is given after a positive COVID diagnosis, the better the body has a chance to jumpstart its immune system to make antibodies.

"We've had some really good stories where people — right after treament — they felt better," Dr. Errol Buntuyan, a physician at the Maui Lani clinic, said. "They felt less sick, they felt less feverish or felt less tired, less symptoms. We had one patient who go their taste and smell back after the treatment, so that was a really cool case that happened."

The clinic is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., though that may expand depending on the demand. Buntuyan says the facility has an adequate supply of the antibodies.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 30, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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