STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- As a clinical lab technician, Josipa Matusich is on the front lines of tracking the COVID-19 virus. But earlier this year, it was the virus that tracked her down. Eventually, Josipa fell ill along with more than half a dozen members of her family.
"After so many months of being careful and wearing masks, and doing social distance we actually got it, it was like- 'what are we gonna do now?'" Matusich said.
She says she felt extremely vulnerable herself because of a pre-existing condition effecting her immune system.
"I've been on immunosuppressant therapy basically my whole life, the last 30 years," Matusich said.
Early on, doctors at Stanford began treating Matusich with Regeneron, the same monoclonal antibody drug given to former President Trump, who granted an emergency use authorization as a treatment by the FDA. Research continued into it's effectiveness for patients who might still be vulnerable, even with vaccinations available.
"There are people whose immune system isn't great, and maybe they're not responding well to the vaccine," said Dr. Upinder Singh, M.D. "And then there are people who have done all the right things, and maybe they're much older or they have sort of other underlying conditions."
Dr. Singh is an infectious disease expert at Stanford, which was a trial site for Regeneron. The company recently announced that the anti-body cocktail proved more than 80% effective in reducing the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 in phase 3 trials.
They've asked the FDA to extend its use, as a preventative treatment for unvaccinated people, and potentially those with compromised immune systems who might not respond to vaccines.
"Absolutely go hand in hand, you want a vaccine that is effective and good; and we have multiple, that is awesome," said Dr. Singh. "You want a therapy for someone who is sick enough to go into the hospital, then you want a therapy for someone who is early in their disease."
As for patients like Josipa Matusch, it's also peace of mind.
"I think we're so blessed here that we have a treatment," Matusch said.
Doctors at Stanford have also led research into the use of monoclonal antibodies for use in treatment against several forms of cancer.
Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under reopening tiers
- Cheat sheet: What you can and can't do after being fully vaccinated
- How to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in every Bay Area county
- Map shows everywhere you can get a COVID-19 test in the Bay Area
- Interactive map shows what's closed and what's reopening in the San Francisco Bay Area
- Data tracker: Coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations in every Bay Area county
- Third stimulus check calculator: See how much you could get
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during pandemic
- Get the latest updates on California EDD, stimulus checks, unemployment benefits
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic