MDH and M Health Fairview announce plan to expand monoclonal antibody treatments

"Capacity to give this medication has been pretty limited primarily due to the ongoing healthcare staffing"

Minnesota continues to struggle with COVID-19 and has set a 2021 high for hospitalizations.

The Minnesota Department of Health show hospitals across the state were caring for 1,429 patients who tested positive for the pandemic virus. It’s the second time in less than a week the state has had over 1,400 patients in hospitals.

M Health Fairview and the Minnesota Department of Health Tuesday announced plans to expand monoclonal antibody treatments.  The treatments are provided through infusions or injections.

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According to M Health Fairview’s website, antibodies are a natural part of the body’s immune system. Their role is to fight bacteria, viruses, and other foreign objects, including COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are created in a lab and act much like the natural antibodies we already have.
They can be added to a person’s bloodstream either through an IV or a series of injections to help strengthen the body’s natural defense against COVID-19.

The MDH will expand the hours and capacity at the St. Paul clinic and has already requested additional staff support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the central region of the state.

M health Fairview is adding about 300 appointments for monoclonal antibody treatments at its Columbia Heights clinic.

Dr. Andrew Olson is chief of COVID hospital medicine at M health Fairview and he says while these treatments have existed for a while, they haven’t had the capacity to treat people.

“We’ve been doing this for about a year,” Olson says. “But the capacity to give this medication has been pretty limited across our state, primarily due to the ongoing healthcare staffing.”

Appointments are available online however walk-ins are not being accepted.