BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A new antibody treatment is now available for people who need more protection from COVID-19 infection.
Evusheld is a monoclonal antibody combination created by AstraZeneca. It reduces the risk of infection for people who are immunocompromised and for those who cannot get vaccinated.
The drug is available in limited supply and is only given to certain, high-risk groups of people.
Mary Wanza got the new antibody treatment after her doctor determined that she, as a blood cancer patient, needed it.
"I may not respond to the vaccine like everyone else," said Wanza.
When Mary's doctor, Carole Miller, the Cancer Institute Director at Ascension St. Agnes Hospital, told her about the treatment, she jumped at the opportunity to get it.
"Of course, I was ready to do it. She didn't have to twist my arm at all," she said.
Dr. Miller stresses that the first line of defense against the virus is the vaccine. The FDA also states that Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended.
"It's for the highest highest of the risk people," said Dr. Miller. "Giving it to them now before they're infected to try and prevent infection."
Evusheld is administered as two shots and offers six months of protection.
"It provides levels of protection that they can't make themselves," the doctor said.
A doctor must prescribe the treatment and patients who believe they may be eligible should speak to their provider.
Dr. Miller told WJZ that examples of people who are eligible for Evusheld include:
- Patients with blood cancers on treatment
- Patients who had stem cell transplants or CAR-T cells
- Solid-organ transplant patients on additional medications to control rejection
- Patients with autoimmune diseases on multiple medications, like Rituxan
- Patients with uncontrolled HIV infections
- Patients with documented failure to respond to at least 2 vaccines
Now that Wanza has had Evusheld, she says she feels a little more comfortable about getting out and living life a little more normal again.
"I want to and spend three weeks somewhere, anywhere outside of Baltimore because I haven't been able to travel," she said.
The FDA has more information about the treatment on its website.
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