SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A group of civic and health leaders Monday announced the imminent opening of a Monoclonal Antibody Regional Center in the Clairemont area to provide on-site COVID-19 testing and early treatment at no cost for anyone who is medically eligible, regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
"This site is incredibly important for our city, county and region," Mayor Todd Gloria said.
"While vaccinations are the main weapon in the fight against COVID- 19, providing early antibody treatment alongside testing will ensure that those who do test positive receive immediate care," he said. "This site is crucial in the fight against COVID-19, relieving the burden on local hospitals and benefiting nearby schools that rely on regular testing to remain open."
MARC sites are intended to provide early antibody treatment that can help COVID-19 patients fight the virus without having to go to a hospital. The treatment has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
Post-exposure prophylaxis is a preventive treatment started after exposure to prevent illness. However, monoclonal antibodies are not a replacement for vaccination.
"Monoclonal antibodies are a good reason to trust science," said Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. "Since February, more than 1,600 people have received monoclonal antibody treatment at seven treatment centers the County of San Diego has opened. This new treatment center will save more lives from COVID-19 and is another example of how Mayor Gloria is committed to the city and county working together to take actions that meet the needs of our communities."
The site is located at the Cathy Hopper Clairemont Friendship Center at 4425 Bannock Ave. and is anticipated to open next week to provide treatment to all medically eligible individuals. Onsite testing will be provided soon afterward.
"Prevention by vaccination is best way to protect our community from COVID-19," said Council President Jennifer Campbell. "However, if you are infected with COVID-19, the monoclonal antibody treatment saves lives and reduces suffering. This new center will give our neighbors convenient access to this treatment."
Other MARC sites are available in Escondido, at Vista Community Clinic and through Family Health Centers of San Diego in Hillcrest and Chula Vista.
"Having the Cathy Hopper Friendship Center now serve temporarily as a Monoclonal Antibody Regional Center truly shows how we as a city are able to partner, evolve and meet the needs of our residents," said Councilman Chris Cate.