Know Your Options for Early Covid Treatment
Nov 22, 2021 | COVID-19 | Share:
Did you know that there are treatments available for Covid-19?
Early treatment for Covid-19 is key to preventing hospitalization and death, but many people don’t even know that treatment options exist.
Here’s what you need to know about your current options for treatment if you test positive for Covid-19.
Early Covid-19 Treatment Basics
Early in the pandemic, doctors recommended that patients who tested positive for Covid-19 isolate, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take over-the-counter medications to control their symptoms. Patients were instructed to quarantine, and if they began to have difficulty breathing, they needed to call their doctor or go to the hospital.
Unfortunately, many people still believe that there are no treatments available if you test positive. But early treatment is available and important for everyone, regardless of your vaccination status. Dr. Jordan Vaughn, MedHelp CEO, says, “Vaccines are not a failsafe. You can be fully vaccinated and still get a severe case of Covid that puts you in the hospital.”
If you begin to have Covid-like symptoms, get tested right away. Testing is essential, not just for mitigation, but also to get you any necessary treatment. Once you test positive, there are multiple treatment options available, including monoclonal antibody treatment and sequenced multidrug therapy. And new treatments are currently in late-phase clinical trials, including oral antiviral treatments. Early treatment for Covid-19 can reduce your risk of hospitalization by up to 90%.
At-Home Treatment Protocol
As with any upper respiratory virus, when you test positive for Covid-19, it's important to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take fever-reducing medications as needed. However, there are other actions you can take at home to alleviate your symptoms, speed your recovery, and prevent the spread of the virus among the people you live with.
These treatments include a Povidone-Iodine oral and nasal rinse as well as a regimen of over-the-counter medications and supplements. Learn more about the details of this home treatment protocol here.
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
Monoclonal antibodies are synthetic, lab-made proteins that work to fight off a particular infection. Monoclonal antibodies are not new; they have been historically used to treat many diseases and even cancer. Scientists have now developed monoclonal antibodies that treat Covid-19 through an infusion of antibodies that your body would have made itself to fight off the infection. This is a safe, concentrated way to treat Covid-19.
Monoclonal antibodies are not the same as convalescent plasma, and they are not made from patients who have been previously sick with Covid-19. Monoclonal antibodies are also safer than convalescent plasma treatment and are associated with fewer complications. You can receive this treatment through an IV infusion during a one-time outpatient visit.
Monoclonal antibody treatment provides your body with a high dose of antibodies to fight Covid-19. You can think of monoclonal antibody infusion as quickly increasing the number of trained soldiers (antibodies) to fight off a dangerous enemy army (Covid-19). This treatment is most effective for mild-to-moderate Covid symptoms, and it needs to be administered within your first ten days of symptoms. Don’t wait until your symptoms get worse!
Monoclonal antibody infusions are recommended for Covid positive patients who are at risk of developing severe complications due to Covid-19. Risk factors include:
- Age 65 years or older
- Body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher for adults, or in the 85th percentile or higher for pediatric patients
- Chronic kidney disease
- Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment
- Cardiovascular disease (including congenital heart disease) or hypertension
- Chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), moderate to severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, or pulmonary hypertension
- Sickle cell disease
If you have one or more of these risk factors, contact your doctor immediately after testing positive. Monoclonal antibody infusions are available at MedHelp, but approval from a doctor is required. Plenty of treatments are currently available.
To request monoclonal antibody treatment at MedHelp, fill out our secure form. A doctor will call you for a telehealth appointment and determine if you are eligible for treatment. Monoclonal antibody treatment is not approved for children under the age of 12.
Using Sequenced Multidrug Therapy to treat Covid-19
While the name may sound highly technical, sequenced multidrug therapy (SMDT) is simply the process of using several treatments in a particular order to treat an illness. Dr. Vaughn says that when it comes to viral illnesses, no one drug will cure you. He says, “I believe we need to treat patients early and aggressively in an outpatient setting so that they never have to go to the hospital.” Sequenced multidrug therapy is already commonly used to treat other respiratory viral illnesses, including the flu.
Sequenced multidrug therapy begins with monoclonal antibody treatment, but it doesn’t end there. SMDT for Covid-19 utilizes nebulizers, steroids such as dexamethasone, anti-inflammatories, and anti-clotting medication for treatment. A doctor may also prescribe home-based supplemental oxygen treatment. Doctors can look at what’s going on in a patient’s body and how the disease is progressing to aggressively treat and keep patients out of the hospital.
These treatments are proven, FDA-approved treatments, and their use has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and death by up to 85%.1
Cahaba Research and Covid-19 Treatment Trials
Cahaba Research, Inc., the research arm of MedHelp Clinics, has been studying early treatments for Covid-19 since January 2020. Carmen Brinks, Director of Cahaba Research, says, “When everything shut down in the very early days of the pandemic, we immediately shifted to Covid treatment trials. While the clinics were testing in the drive-thru and treating remotely, we were bringing patients in and providing treatment.”
For the first several months of the pandemic, treatment options were seriously limited. Donna Warren, Lead Clinical Research Coordinator at Cahaba Research, says, “One of the real benefits of these clinical trials has been that for so long, there have been very few treatment options available for patients. But our research department has been able to offer an option for possible treatment for our Covid-positive patients.”
If a patient enrolls in a clinical trial for possible Covid treatment, a MedHelp doctor will closely follow their symptoms through a variety of means, including digital diaries and frequent telehealth and in-office tests and treatments. If the doctor sees that the patient’s symptoms are worsening, they’re able to immediately intervene and provide proactive treatment.
Throughout the pandemic, Cahaba Research has conducted research trials for both treatments and testing. At the time of publication, Cahaba Research is conducting two testing studies; one molecular Covid testing study and one at-home test study. They are also testing a prophylactic (preventative) treatment for household contacts of patients who are Covid-positive.
The prophylactic treatment study is designed to determine whether the drug stops or slows the spread of Covid-19 within close household contacts. For example, if a teenager tests positive for Covid, their parents or other adults they live with may be eligible to participate in the trial for this treatment.
To patients who are concerned about being a guinea pig, Carmen Brinks says, “Every drug that’s on the market has had to go through extensive clinical trials.” Every clinical trial is approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board to ensure that the risks are as low as possible and worth the potential benefits. Brinks also says, “Over 700 patients have participated in our Covid trials, and we often rank as one of the top enrolling sites in the United States and around the world.”
Patients who are interested in learning more about the Covid-19 treatment and testing trials at Cahaba Research should visit CahabaResearch.com to learn more about their approach to clinical trials. Because eligibility for trials changes frequently, call 205-408-4134 to see if you’re eligible for current trials.
Early Treatment for Covid-19 is Essential
Treatment for Covid-19 does exist, and it can save your life. Carmen Brinks says, “Patients don’t have to go home and suffer with their symptoms until they’re so severe that they have to go to the hospital. MedHelp doctors are willing to treat you. Both in the clinics and through our trials, we’ve seen that people who get early treatment almost always have a successful recovery.”
Don’t wait until you can’t breathe to get treatment. Dr. Vaughn also reminds vaccinated patients, “People who have been vaccinated can and will get Covid-19. But you are also still eligible for early treatments, including monoclonal antibodies.” Educate yourself on your options and talk with your doctor about their treatment protocols for Covid-19. MedHelp doctors are dedicated to providing safe, effective, and aggressive treatment for patients who have Covid-19.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is available at MedHelp today for patients who are at risk of developing severe complications from Covid-19. A doctor must determine your eligibility for treatment and a telehealth visit is required.
1McCullough PA, Alexander PE, Amrstrong R, et al. Multifaceted highly targeted sequential multidrug treatment of early ambulatory high-risk SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19). Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2020; 21: 517-530. DOI: 10.31083/j.rcm.2020.04.264