At a press conference in Butte on Thursday, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte shared the news that monoclonal antibody treatments are now available in 41 out of 56 counties in the state, for those that have requested the treatments.

“Over the last month and a half DPHHS has been working diligently to allocate thousands of monoclonal antibody treatments across our state,” said Governor Gianforte. “As of today, and thanks to the work of Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek beside me, the treatment is now accessible in 41 counties in Montana.”

Gianforte sang the praises of the monoclonal antibody treatments.

“Much like COVID-19 vaccines, monoclonal antibody treatments are saving lives in our fight against COVID-19,” he said. “A few weeks ago, I visited Sidney Health Center out in Sidney, Montana, where they were using monoclonal antibodies as early treatment for vulnerable Montanans infected with the virus. Providers there told me that the monoclonal antibody treatments have been over 97% effective in preventing hospitalizations amongst the most vulnerable.”

Dr. Cook-Shimanek provided more information about the monoclonal treatments.

“The monoclonal antibody therapeutics are used to treat eligible non hospitalized patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms,” said Dr. Cook-Shimanek. “So this is for eligible patients who have underlying medical conditions or other factors that place them at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.”

Dr. Cook-Shimanek explained how the treatments work.

“These treatments mimic our immune systems response to SARS co-v two which is the virus that causes COVID 19,” she said. “This antibody binds to the virus spike protein and blocks attachment to the human cell. The state receives a weekly allocation of the monoclonal antibody products based on case burden in the state and utilization in the prior week. So similar to prior state led therapeutic distributions in the past two years, the state reaches out through a variety of channels to identify facilities and providers who might be interested in administering this product.”

Gianforte said the treatments are being administered by Jogan Health Solutions.

Governor Greg Gianforte's office told KGVO this week that the treatments are being made available to Providence St. Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center and Cost Care.

KGVO has reached out to Providence St. Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center and Cost Care about if and when these treatments will be available in Missoula, but have not yet received a reply.

Anecdotally, KGVO spoke to one local businessman who received the monoclonal antibody treatment at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls. He said he was in and out in about 30 minutes, and his fever, which had been over 104, came down almost immediately. He returned home and after a few days tested negative for the virus, and is now back at work.

 

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