People battling COVID-19 are getting another resource in Collin County: a regional antibody infusion center.
State and local authorities set up a space this month at Collin College in McKinney where people who are diagnosed with the virus can visit for an infusion of antibodies that will help people fight off the coronavirus. Authorities said this treatment is intended for people who are diagnosed with the virus but have not yet bad enough to need an ICU bed or oxygen treatment.
Officials including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott say infusion centers like this are needed to keep people out of hospitals, freeing up resources and medical professionals who are stretched once again to breaking points. In multiple news release, Abbott’s office emphasized that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is what will ultimately bring an end to the pandemic.
Throughout August, the governor’s office along with the Texas Division of Emergency Management announced the openings of infusion centers throughout the state in cities including Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, Lubbock, San Antonio and Tyler. Dozens of healthcare providers across the state are also administering the treatment, according to state authorities.
“COVID-19 antibody infusion treatment is available for free to all Texans who test positive for the virus and have a doctor’s referral,” Abbott is quoted as saying in a news story.
In a previous news release, Abbott said the centers would use FDA-approved monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. When Abbott was diagnosed with the coronavirus last month, it was reported that his medical team treated him with monoclonal antibodies, which are basically proteins made in a lab that mimic the way an immune system fights viruses, according to the FDA. Health authorities say the treatment is helpful but does not got far enough as vaccines do in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
In early September, Collin County Judge Chris Hill wrote on his Facebook page that TDEM, Collin College and Baylor Scott & White Health would staff and support the infusion center. The center, located at 2400 Community Avenue in McKinney, held its grand opening Sept. 2 and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m, according to Hill's post.
Hill said the center will serve up to 60 patients per day. People can schedule an appointment by calling 972-548-6674 or email [email protected]. Authorities say people who qualify for the infusion treatment must not have been diagnosed more than 10 days before treatment and do not need to be hospitalized or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. People who were already on oxygen before contracting COVID-19 must not have been required to increase their oxygen rate due to the virus.
Reached by email this week, Hill would not clarify how the county is involved in the effort, and a spokesman for Collin County Health Care Services said the health department is not involved with the infusion center.
“We have a long-standing relationship with area hospitals, especially Baylor Scott & White Health, due to our extensive health sciences programs, and hosting this therapy center is yet another way we can support their service to local and regional residents,” Neil Matkin, the president of Collin College, said in a news release.
To recap, according to a Collin County release, patients are eligible for this medication when:
- Patient must NOT be hospitalized or require oxygen therapy.
- Patient must NOT require an increase in oxygen rate due to COVID-19 if using for underlying comorbidity.
- Patient MUST be within 10 days of symptom onset.
Patients can contact the infusion center by calling 972-548-6674. Doctors can contact the infusion center by emailing [email protected].
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