By Robbie Owens

by Robbie Owens | CBS 11

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With Covid infections once again on the rise, research happening in North Texas is helping save lives. It’s called “neutralizing monoclonal antibody” treatment.

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And while doctors say the best way to survive Covid is to get vaccinated to reduce your chances of getting seriously ill.

But if you do become infected with the virus, it’s important, experts say, to do more than just wait.

“Last year, we said, `gosh if you have Covid, stay at home if you don’t need the hospital’,” says Robert Gottlieb, MD, PhD, with Baylor Scott & White. “Now, it’s a very different message.”

And that message, says Dr. Gottlieb is to ask your physician for monoclonal antibody treatment. Researchers reported earlier this year that the treatment, which is similar to convalescent plasma, but with the virus fighting properties isolated and more targeted, was effective in improving Covid survival rates.

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What is new, he says, is that the data has been peer reviewed, published and the findings have been astounding.

“We have the hard clinical data now to say that we can reduce hospitalizations by somewhere between 70-87%,” says Dr. Gottlieb, a lead principal investigator in the clinical trials. And reducing hospitalizations, reduces deaths. “In fact, the trial I participated in as a principal investigator, we had patients that unfortunately did pass away. But they had all received the placebo. They had not received the neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. From that point on, we switched it out for active… no more placebo because it was too important. This works.”

Dr. Gottlieb calls the treatment a “game changer.”

The treatment is recommended for anyone with high risk factors, which include rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, even weight.

So, doctors are encouraging patients to request the lifesaving treatment as soon as infection is confirmed, and before symptoms worsen.

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“We know antivirals work best when used early,” says Dr. Gottlieb. “If a burglar breaks into your home, don’t you watch them stopped as soon as the alarm goes off? Or are you going to wait around with your windows and doors open for a week? And by then the house is ransacked. Don’t sit at home, worrying what’s going to come. Take control of it… take control of your health and actually manage Covid, instead of it managing you.”