Nacogdoches infusion centers lack COVID-19 antibody treatment

Nacogdoches infusion centers lack COVID-19 antibody treatment
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 3:17 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - More infusion centers have been temporarily shut down following last week’s pause in allocations of antibody treatments.

At least 20 patients a day can receive COVID-19 antibody treatments at Nacogdoches physician Dr. Eddy Furniss’ clinic. The service came to a stop about three days ago.

“The infusions available now in Texas are not really effective against the Omicron variant,” said Furniss. “And since that’s now the major virus circulating, the government’s put that on hold.”

Furniss says he’s had success in treating the milder COVID-19 variant in patients who had COVID-19 or had the vaccine.

“I haven’t sent a single patient to the hospital yet with this variant,” Furniss said. “So, it might be more concerning to the unvaccinated or non-immune who haven’t had the virus in the first place.”

“It is increasing,” observed Abbey Scorsonelli, the emergency management services public information officer for Nacogdoches.

In front of her were updated tracks of COVID-19 trends for Nacogdoches County.

“The top is the confirmed cases,” Scorsonelli said. “And then the middle is probable cases. So, you do see an upward trend here lately.”

It is why physicians are anxiously waiting for new infusion treatments reserved for the most vulnerable.

“Sotrovimab which is a GSK product that is more effective against Omicron, Furniss said.

Another anticipated treatment tool can go home and be swallowed with a glass of water.

“Paxovid, which is the Pfizer pill. Those are actually very effective for the unvaccinated,” Furniss said. “Here in Texas, it’s probably going to get about 3,000 doses which isn’t much, but it will ramp up quickly.”

Deliveries to Deep East Texas may happen in mid-January.

And if you do get sick even with a sniffle, a cold, or something that might resemble an allergy, you’re strongly encouraged to at least get tested because if you do test positive, you can at least stay away from the most vulnerable population.

Testing is available, but so far, health providers are still waiting for free at-home testing kits.

Health care providers say vaccination remains the best defense again COVID-19 and its variants.

The Nacogdoches vaccination clinic at the city library will resume Friday schedules a week from tomorrow.

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