Doctor discuss treatment options for omicron variant

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the country, Kentucky hospitals are suffering from...
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the country, Kentucky hospitals are suffering from staff shortages and overcapacity.
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:40 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Doctors continue to learn more about the omicron variant, including how to treat it.

Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor from University of Louisville Health said getting help early is the key to success.

“The most important thing that I tell folks is if you’re feeling ill and it’s just not getting better, please seek help,” she begged.

As of Thursday, UofL Health has 113 COVID-positive patients, including 25 in the ICU, 12 of which are on ventilators. Dr. Briones-Pryor said about 89 percent of those patients are unvaccinated.

She said the problem is that many people are waiting too long before they seek help.

“They’re young, they’re healthy, and I get it, you want to wait and see. But then a week goes by, two weeks go by and the problem with COVID is some folks have that period of time where a week after their symptoms have started, they actually get worse,” she explained.

Dr. Briones-Pryor said one treatment that needs to be done early is monoclonal antibody treatment.

She said early data suggests the current treatment might not be as effective against omicron, but it’s worth a shot.

“We’ll still try it if you’re a candidate for it in hopes that it will work,” Briones-Pryor said. She said a newer version of the monoclonal antibody treatment is being used, which is expected to fight omicron better than previous versions.

Dr. Briones Pryor said UofL Health is still waiting for shipments of that, along with two COVID treatment pills which have been given emergency use authorization from the FDA.

“I think it will be great, another weapon in our arsenal against COVID,” she said. “It’s not a cure, but it’s another treatment out there and available so that folks don’t get too ill and they end up in the hospital seeing me.”

Dr. Briones Pryor said omicron seems to be mild in vaccinated people. People treating it at home should take vitamins, fever-reducing medicine, and drink lots of water.

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