How widely available medication is being used to treat COVID-19

Posted at 11:37 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 23:38:17-04

(WXYZ) — Here in Michigan, the number of new COVID-19 cases is rising at an alarming rate. As of Friday, the number is up 32%, but the number of deaths has gone down.

This comes as several medications are now widely available to treat the effects of COVID-19, which significantly lowers the chance of hospitalization or death from the virus.

Nearly 2.5 million people have been hit with COVID-19 in Michigan, and more than 36,000 have died. Across America, we could reach 1 million deaths from the virus within the week.

Vaccinations and boosters have helped, but the more contagious sub-variants are spreading.

Jim Boyes just got back from a trip to Florida, and he tested positive for COVID-19. He has battled heart disease, cancer, and now, he's battling the virus.

Boyes' doctors recommended he get a monoclonal antibody treatment at MedCare Urgent Care in Redford Township. It's a 30-minute IV treatment, and the medication has changed as the sub-variants have changed.

"It's extremely convenient to drive not far from the neighborhood and get your problems taken care of with a high-quality reference from my physician," Boyes said.

I spoke with three medical providers who opened MedCare. They say they have been on the frontlines of the pandemic since it began, and have treated thousands of patients.

"The IV infusion does benefit a lot of people," Dr. Hassan Akel said. "The goal is to prevent hospitalization and preventing death."

The infusion must be given within seven days of testing positive for COVID-19. Still, many wait too long and end up with pneumonia or their oxygen is so low they must be hospitalized.

"A lot of patients stay at home, and without proper medical advice, without somebody listening to their lungs and monitoring oxygen," Roni Auob said.

There are pills, too. Pfizer's Paxlovid must be taken within five days of testing positive. In rare cases, a patient's symptoms have rebounded after completing the treatment. The good news is cost – as all the treatments are paid for by the federal government.

The team at MedCare gives credit to the State of Michigan and lawmakers for making these treatments readily available.

They are urging everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, but they are available around the clock to patients who need answers and treatments for their families.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.