The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services extended its contract on providing monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 by 30 days.

According to data from clinical trials, the monoclonal antibody treatment method has been proven to reduce high-risk COVID-19 patients from being hospitalized. In many cases, the FDA-approved treatment has also prevented severe progressions of the disease, including deaths.

These antibodies are proteins that are artificially manufactured in laboratories and are designed to attack viruses like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They are able to mimic the immune system’s response to such viruses and subsequently prevent any further spread in the body, according to the U.S. government Combat COVID website FAQs.

The State Health Department entered into the contract with SLS Health of Galveston, Texas in late August. The initial contract was supposed to last one month until Gov. Mike Parson’s statement extended it.

In Missouri, there are a total of six state-run sites that offer the monoclonal antibody treatment at present. They are located in Butler, Jackson, Jefferson, Pettis and Scott counties, as well as the city of St. Louis. For Columbia and Boone County residents, the closest location to receive this treatment is Bothwell Regional Health Center in Pettis County.

Each of these sites started their operations the week of Aug. 25 to Aug. 31. The 30-day extension will vary depending on each site’s start date. Missouri residents can access the treatment for free at one of the six government operated centers under the contract.

These sites have provided monoclonal antibody infusion treatments to a total of 1,732 patients to date, according to the governor’s news release.

In addition, there are several other private health care systems that have been providing this treatment to their patients.

Health care providers and patients can access the exact locations of all these centers in the state using this map.

Gov. Parson also cited the usefulness of the monoclonal antibody treatment.

“Monoclonal antibody treatments have been successful for many COVID-19 patients and have allowed us to lessen the strain on Missouri’s health care systems,” he said in the statement. “However, this treatment is not a replacement for the vaccine. Encouraging more Missourians to choose vaccination is still the most effective path for us to move past COVID-19.”

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, about 53.1% of the total population in the state received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 47% were fully vaccinated.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • City/county government reporter, Fall 21

  • Cameron Barnard is an assistant city editor and copy editor for the Columbia Missourian. You can reach him in the newsroom at 573-882-5720 or on Twitter @Cameron_Barnard.

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