JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached a record number in the Tri-Cities, but Ballad Health announced Monday they are prepared to open the system’s first monoclonal antibody infusion center.
Ballad Health CEO and President Alan Levine told News Channel 11 that the treatment facility is set to open Tuesday. Patients are already being scheduled for treatment, and appointments are required.
“We are converting the old cancer center in Johnson City to I think a 12-bed infusion center for monoclonal antibodies,” Levine said. “The issue is just getting it staffed, and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
The infusion center is located on Marketplace Boulevard off of Knob Creek Road in Johnson City. Levine said Ballad Health is also providing the treatment at several hospitals in the 21-county service area.
Levine said the monoclonal antibody treatment is actually similar to the COVID-19 vaccine in the way it targets certain proteins. He said while some people are hesitant to receive the vaccine, there is no shortage of people hoping to receive the antibody treatment.
“They’re antibodies that are artificially created in a lab to target the spike proteins,” Levine said. “So, they won’t do the vaccine, but they’ll come and get in line for monoclonal antibodies after they’ve been exposed to the virus.”