LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Vaccines are on their way; that’s what federal health officials have told us. But they’re not here just yet.
There is another line of defense against the coronavirus that has made it to Louisville now. It’s not a vaccine, but doctors are excited to have it in their arsenal.
"This is not the cure-all," said UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith. "However, it’s an exciting advancement."
Smith met with Spectrum News 1 for a virtual interview this week to discuss a new antibody treatment that’s hit his hospital's shelves, called Bamlanivimab.
It’s got a complicated name but, Smith says, while it is synthetic, this antibody treatment does things in your body that is quite natural.
"Consider it a bit of a cheat code for the immune system. It goes around and outside what would be a normal process your body would do to fight off this virus, and we just artificially give it to you."
The catch is, while COVID-19 vaccines will be made to treat anyone, to receive the antibody treatment you have to contract the virus. And, it’s designed to help those with the direst need.
"What we’re trying to do is, take that really sick 10% of people and make it so they never progress to that stage and stop the virus in its tracks, and stop the virus in its tracks, and give them a chance to respond naturally."
UofL Health gave its first doses of the antibody late this week. Smith also said he hopes administering the treatment could help keep hospital bed capacity down.
Epidemiologists with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institue of Health have repeatedly said we as citizens still need to do our part: wear masks and distance from each other – as tough as that is around the holiday season – as we all wait for a vaccine.