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Synthetic Antibody Helping Shield COVID From Some Minnesota Cancer Patients, Organ Recipients

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- We're learning more about a preventative treatment for the highest-risk Minnesotans in the fight against COVID-19.

Lisa Stackhouse is one of few Minnesotans who have received a newly approved monoclonal antibody therapy designed to protect people who are immunocompromised from COVID-19.

"It's been a long 21 months, but I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel now," Stackhouse said.

Last week, the double lung transplant recipient that self-quarantined during the pandemic received what's called Evusheld, a synthetic antibody that lasts about six months.

"It just feels like a blessing to be able to have a little bit of protection," Stackhouse said.

Dr. Bryan Jarabek is the chief medical informatics officer with M Health Fairview.

COVID Therapy Evusheld
Evusheld (credit: CBS)

"People have actually figured out how to make an antibody that targets the COVID virus," Dr. Jarabek said.

He says Evusheld is for the patients most at-risk from COVID-19.

"Where everybody else can get the vaccine and have that protection, these people don't have an immune system, so this is a huge new benefit for them to get this treatment," Dr. Jarabek said.

Right now, he says it's for people with a bone marrow or lung transplant, or in active treatment for lymphoma or leukemia, like Betsy Gabler. Doctors diagnosed her last September. She says this allows her to have support while she undergoes treatment.

"Just understanding the power of being able to have a pal by you when you're going through something," Gabler said. "If you can have somebody with you and feel like you're safe by doing that, it really makes a big difference."

There is such a limited supply right now, M Health Fairview is distributing by invitation only, prioritizing by the most at-risk patients. Click here for more information. And click here for more information from Minnesota Department of Health.

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