Nursing home medical director hopeful COVID-19 antibody infusions will help fight new infections

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FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Dr. Philip Gara Jr. is the medical director for the Fort Hudson Health System in Fort Edward. He spoke with News10’s Anya Tucker about Covid19 antibody infusions that were given to several residents who recently tested positive, after a staff member contracted the virus.

But he said he had to scramble to make it happen this past weekend.

“When the cases became positive, and we had a protocol at Glens Falls Hospital for antibodies, we immediately tried to set somebody up for an infusion,” he said. “The earliest we could get was this Tuesday.”

But would Tuesday be too late?

The nursing home lost 11 residents to COVID-19 last spring, and Dr. Gara knew this time the clock was working against them. So he began making calls to every area hospital searching for vials of antibodies, which are approved by the FDA for emergency use.

“And Saratoga Hospital graciously had a supply. And rather than send our folks out down to their infusion center, which is done in their emergency room, possibly contaminating their ER with someone who is positive, they graciously sent cars up and deliveries to our nursing home, and we initiated the protocol.”

The monoclonal antibody is injected into the bloodstream. It is bioengineered and boosts the body’s fight against the virus, especially in people who are at high risk of severe illness.

Dr. Gara said the residents at Fort Hudson are candidates because they show mild to moderate symptoms and have not needed hospital care.

“So we are going to keep our fingers crossed that we nipped some of these in the bud. And we will continue as positives come on board to nip them in the bud,” he said.


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