Local providers offer drug that prevents high-risk people from getting COVID-19

CHARLOTTE — A new drug to help prevent immunocompromised people from getting COVID-19 is being offered in the Carolinas.

The drug, Evusheld, is administered before a patients becomes infected with the virus, unlike previous monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 patients. The drug can reduce someone’s chance of getting COVID-19 by up to 83% and reduce their rate of death by up to 50%, according to StarMed Healthcare.

StarMed and the Oncology Specialists of Charlotte (OSC) are now administering the treatment.

Not everyone is eligible for Evusheld. According to StarMed, the following must be true:

  • A patient can’t have COVID-19 or have been recently exposed to someone with the virus.
  • A patient must have a health condition that prevents your body from developing a strong enough response to a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • A patient can’t receive a COVID-19 vaccine because of severe allergic reactions.
  • A patient must be age 12 or older and weigh at least 88 pounds.

StarMed said it is offering the Evusheld treatment at each of its monoclonal treatment centers in Charlotte, Gastonia, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and New Bern. The drug is administered in two injections, one immediately after the other.

OSC announced Wednesday that two of its doctors will be giving the Evusheld treatment to qualifying patients. More information can be found on center’s website.

The FDA granted the Emergency Use Authorization for Evusheld in early December 2021. AstraZeneca has agreed to supply the U.S. government with 700,000 doses of Evusheld. Supplies are limited and a patient will require a provider evaluation prior to the drug being administered.

For additional information about COVID-19 treatment, testing and vaccinations, visit StarMed’s website.

For more providers who offer the drug in North Carolina, click here. If you live in South Carolina, click here.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Just be patient’: Officials face challenges keeping up with demand for COVID-19 testing)

Giving many people hope

A woman with a weak immune system has been isolated during the pandemic because of the dangers of being infected with the virus.

Now, StarMed Healthcare is providing Ann Boyd with what doctors say can decrease the chance of death after contracting COVID-19.

Boyd has chronic lymphocytic Leukemia, so COVID-19 vaccines don’t work in her body.

“I’ve been vaccinated,” Boyd said. “I’ve had a booster and because those are natural things occurring, my body fights them off. So having those, made no difference in my immunity.”

Boyd thought she was doomed to live each day like the last until her doctor contacted her with the good news.

“It’s better than winning the lottery,” she said.

She got the opportunity to receive Evusheld from StarMed.

“Honestly, almost every single one of the people we’ve talked to have cried,” said Chief Medical Officer Arin Piramzadian. “They’re so happy this is available, that we have access to it now, and that they have a way to actually feel safe.”

He said Evusheld is a dose of monoclonal antibodies given in the form of a shot that can decrease the chance of death from COVID-19 by 83%.

“This population is your transplant patients,” Piramzadian said. “These are people who have rheumatoid arthritis or some kind of immune disease where they’re on these severe medications that don’t let their body mount defenses. These are the people who, honestly, have been very scared the past two years to leave their homes.”