HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Hoops Family Children’s Hospital just began providing important specialized COVID-19 care to pediatric patients in our region this month.
“To my knowledge, in the whole state of West Virginia, all pediatric patients that qualify for this infusion can only get them at adult infusion centers. So we are the only place that it’s a designated space for pediatric patients alone,” says Dr. Mariana Lanata, M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist.
The infusions Dr. Lanata is talking about are monoclonal antibody infusions for pediatric COVID-19 patients aged 12 and over.
“It’s just extra antibodies basically that are targeting COVID-19. So, the way we fight infections is that your body needs to see a virus, right, and create antibodies enabled to fight it. If you’re not vaccinated or even if you are but you still got sick, what we’re giving them is extra antibodies to fight this virus and hopefully keep it in check and prevent them from causing more harm and giving you a severe disease,” Dr. Lanata says.
There are several reasons why separating the pediatric COVID-19 patients is beneficial.
“It’s a unique space, they will be usually by themselves. They don’t have to be exposed to other COVID-positive patients, they don’t have to see other adults so it’s less overwhelming, it’s much more kid-friendly,” Dr. Lanata says.
Additionally, the care is specialized for the unique needs of pediatric patients.
Robert Keeney, a parent of a patient says having access to a facility this close is wonderful.
“We always worry when we come to the hospital, waiting in the waiting room, who’s been in the examining room before us, you know. It’s nice to have this just for children,” says Keeney says.
Healthcare providers at the hospital say they are trying to spread more awareness that this treatment is available.
“Not a lot of our community pediatricians know that this is an opportunity. We are extending this option for any patient in our area that requires it,” Dr. Lanata says.
Doctors at the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital say the ideal time to administer this treatment is after a child has tested positive for COVID-19, but does not yet show severe symptoms.
Doctors say parents should check with their child’s pediatrician if they test positive for COVID to see if this treatment would be beneficial for them.