CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Nearly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and Dr. Andrew Carroll's office is a familiar testing site.
"Oh goodness... we’re seeing quite a few," Dr. Carroll told Arizona's Family on Tuesday. "There was a lull there, maybe a couple months back where we weren’t seeing any, but we’re definitely diagnosing somewhere between 5 or 25 patients each week.
He hopes to offer monoclonal antibody treatments to his COVID-19 patients at risk for complications. "Having the ability to deliver it, right here in a familiar and comfortable environment by people they trust, I think is important to our patients, which is why we're looking at offering it here soon," Dr. Carroll said.
It's lab-developed treatment doctors say will help people recover more quickly from a COVID-19 infection. Doctors say it's designed to keep you out of the hospital and prevent severe symptoms, but it has to be given early on in the illness.
At a White House briefing at the end of August, Fauci, President Joe Biden's senior medical adviser, implored doctors to use monoclonal antibodies more frequently, noting that they can reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death by 70 to 85%.
"We are incredibly hopeful that we will see greater availability of monoclonal antibody therapies over time," said Jessica Rigler with the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The department recently created a map where you can find facilities offering monoclonal antibody therapy, which is approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Rigler says nearly 200 providers in Arizona offer it, and they estimate about 1,000 patients a week receive the treatment.
"A lot of the available treatments require an infusion. So that’s where you’re getting an intravenous infusion of the therapies, and that process can take two to three hours," Rigler said.
Not all doctor's offices have rooms available for that long or the adequate staffing, she said.
While he goes through the application process, Dr. Carroll has plans on safely separating COVID-19 patients from healthy people by having them come in at different times of the day. He says it can be frustrating to have to refer your patients to someone else.
"This is a therapy that we know works," Dr. Carroll said. "We’re using antibodies like we know how to use antibodies. Our body uses antibodies to help fight infection, and this is specific to that. These are human antibodies that we use to treat this infection."
Rigler says the most important thing to know is that monoclonal antibodies exist and are incredibly effective at preventing hospitalization from COVID-19.
The map of providers and criteria for eligibility from AZDHS can be found here.
Experts say while we're lucky to have this drug for those who do get sick, the COVID-19 vaccine is always our first line of defense.