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ST. LOUIS- Access to Monoclonal Antibody Therapy, a medical cocktail treatment for COVID-19 available in the St. Louis area since late last year, is ramping up in the region. It’s a form of treatment meant to care for those with early-identified cases of the disease, and, more recently, now available for those who had had close exposure to someone with COVID, even without showing signs of sickness.

What it is not, is a substitute for getting vaccinated.

“That’s not the case and it’s not designed to be the case. This treatment is for a patient who has early COVID disease or was just exposed to a patient with COVID disease. Vaccination on the other hand remains our one and only and best medical prevention to contract COVID at all,” said Bruce Hall, MD, PhD, MBA, Chief Quality Officer at BJC HealthCare and Washington University Professor of Surgery.

Hall says the BJC system has treated roughly 2,000 patients with the therapy since December at 5 area locations. Other healthcare partners within the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force and Affinia Health Care are also providing the treatment.

Treatment must be referred by a doctor and must be done in an outpatient setting.