‘Let’s take advantage of it’: Teen gets antibody treatment to fight off COVID-19

CHARLOTTE — Julien Holloman, 14, said the pain he has from COVID-19 has been unbearable.

“I asked him to do something and he sat in the floor and started crying, saying, ‘I am hurting so bad that I can’t walk,’” his mother, Von Tinsley Holloman, said.

An urgent care doctor at Atrium Health told her about a new treatment option -- monoclonal antibody infusion.

“I’ve never heard of it,” Von Tinsley Holloman said. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ She kind of related it to the kind of infusion that our former President Trump had.”

[RELATED: Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 now locally available]

Holloman researched the treatment, and Julien underwent outpatient therapy Tuesday given through an IV for about 20 minutes.

Julien said that before the procedure, his pain level was at 9. After the treatment Friday, it was down to a 3.

“I went in there,” Julien said. “I was hurting. I had to get through it. The thing that has changed since then is no more body aches. I haven’t had any body aches since.”

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Julien still has a long road to recovery, but it comes as some relief after his father, Bishop Kenneth Holloman, Sr., died from COVID-19 in May 2020.

“I couldn’t imagine losing my baby after just losing my husband last year,” Von Tinsley Holloman said.

She recently recovered from COVID-19 last month after contracting the virus even after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“I tell people when you get good information, do your research and check it out,” Von Tinsley Holloman said. “Know one thing. We are getting things to make ourselves and families healthy, so let’s take advantage of it.”

There are special requirements to be approved for this treatment. Julien is immunocompromised. He has chronic asthma an had been hospitalized 13 times over the past 14 years, and he is not yet old enough to receive the family’s preferred vaccine, Johnson & Johnson.

Atrium Health began providing monoclonal antibody treatment to at risk patients in December 2020, said Dr. Lisa Davidson, infectious disease physician, Atrium Health.

[What is monoclonal antibody treatment and who should get it?]

“We were the first in the region to treat both in clinical trials and under the FDA’s emergency use authorization,” Davidson said.

Multiple studies have shown that monoclonal antibodies decrease rates of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and death by 70% or more, she said.

The doctor also said that the current monoclonal antibodies are excellent in fighting the delta variant.

(Watch the video below: Teen gets antibody treatment to fight off COVID-19)

Criteria for monoclonal antibody treatments

Monoclonal antibody treatments are offered at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Urgent Care in Cotswold for children 12 and older who meet criteria, said Davidson.

All patients must have a provider referral and appointment made. Treatments are made by appointment only.

Patients need to have tested positive for COVID-19 test and the child must be within the first seven days of symptoms. There could be other qualifications, for example, severe asthma, obesity and diabetes.

[Lab tries to make COVID-19 treatment for high-risk patients more accessible]

Children who are immunocompromised or have chronic disabilities may qualify, as well.

Patients can get more information from their Atrium Health primary care provider. If you don’t have an Atrium Health primary care provider, schedule a virtual visit to determine if they are a candidate.

More COVID-19 resources from Atrium Health can be found here.

(Watch the video below: Monoclonal antibody treatment: What you need to know)