91-year-old woman gets new COVID-19 antibody treatment to avoid hospital

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
91-year-old gets new COVID-19 antibody treatment to avoid ICU
WATCH: Susan Forney never felt so sick, but a new antibody treatment known as Bamlanivaimab may have kept her out of the ICU.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 91-year-old woman in Houston received a new COVID-19 antibody treatment after her symptoms worsened, to help keep her from being admitted into the hospital.

The goal of the COVID-19 vaccine is to prevent someone from getting severe symptoms and keep them out of the intensive care unit, but as most still wait to receive the vaccine, they are still very much at risk.

Bamlanivaimab, the new antibody treatment, was just recently approved by doctors for emergency use to help limit the amount of virus in the body.

Susan Forney started feeling ill the weekend of Thanksgiving. Three days later, she tested positive for COVID-19 and said she had never felt so sick. A couple of days passed, and she took a turn for the worst.

Dr. Tony Lin recommended she try the new treatment.

Lin said it was recently approved for emergency use at the end of November. He recommended it to Forney to help her chances of avoiding severe symptoms that could leave her in an ICU bed. He said the vaccine and this treatment are two different ways to treat COVID-19.

"It's another tool in our belt during the time that we are waiting for 70% to 80% of the herd immunity that we do need," Lin said. "This is in addition to the masking, the social distancing, the hand hygiene and everything else that's been recommended by the public health authority."

The FDA authorized Bamlanivamab for emergency use with the following conditions:

  • You must be at least 12 years old
  • You must weigh at least 88 pounds
  • Have had mild to moderate symptoms for 10 days or less
  • Must be at high risk

Forney said she could feel the difference 24 hours later and that she didn't suffer from any side effects.

SEE RELATED STORY: Here's a list of how the Moderna & Pfizer vaccines compare

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