Times Union: COVID-19 Mortality Rates Are Down, but Will a Surge Undo Progress?

Photo: Times Union

Jorge Cerda, M.D., chief of the department of medicine at St. Peter’s Hospital, was interviewed by the Times Union about treatment advances in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Cerda discussed the benefits of proning, as well as medications like dexamethasone and monoclonal antibodies.

From the article:

“I think of all the medications we tried, the one that has given us the most dramatic bang for our buck is good old dexamethasone,” Cerda said.

The drug is a powerful steroid that helps reduce inflammation, and doctors began to administer it earlier and much more aggressively than they would for other infections as it helped blunt the damage that inflammation can have on the lungs and other organs.

Physicians are especially hopeful that the roll-out of monoclonal antibodies, such as the recently approved cocktail developed by the Capital Region’s own Regeneron and used to treat President Donald Trump, can be administered even earlier among those who are infected but do not yet require hospitalization.

“The idea is, if we give the antibody early on then we will be able to avoid the severe consequences of the infection because with COVID, the problem is that the initial illness is caused by the virus, but the second phase, which is the worst, is due to the response that the patient has to the virus — it’s the patient’s own immune system doing the damage,” Cerda said.

Cerda, who spoke to the Times Union just prior to Thanksgiving, said St. Peter’s was anticipating its first shipments of antibodies within a week, and was considering setting up an infusion center at Albany Memorial Hospital.

Click here to read the full article.

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