A woman has become one of the first people in Scotland to receive a new treatment for Covid-19 after suffering a “frightening” bout of the disease this year.
Penny Hepburn said she was honoured to be given the ground-breaking monoclonal antibodies intravenous infusion designed to help protect those at high risk due to underlying conditions.
The 53-year-old, who lives near Kinross, has Crohn’s Disease/Colitis and is immunosuppressed and is dealing with catching coronavirus for the second time.
Penny said: “I got Covid-19 at the start of the year too and it made me feel very ill. It felt like more than just a cold.
“My senses felt overloaded, every breath I was taking was heavy, my legs felt like lead. You did wonder when you were going to feel better and it was frightening.
“As soon as I was offered the vaccines, I didn’t hesitate – I got them as soon as I could.”
The new treatment is in addition to the Covid-19 jab and does not replace them, with clinicians saying that getting vaccinated is still the most important step.
It is a neutralising antibody treatment which aims to minimise deterioration of coronavirus in high risk patients in the early stages of the disease, reducing the risk of hospital admissions and subsequent death.
Penny is the first patient in NHS Tayside to be given it.
“I said yes to this new treatment as soon as I was told about it,” Penny said, “This treatment gives me an assurance. I have been offered everything that is possibly available to protect me. That assurance is the best thing to have been given.
“The best message I can give to people is to take Covid-19 seriously. It can be so harmful so please get vaccinated if you are eligible and accept this treatment if you can be offered it.”
Adults and children aged 12 or over are eligible to be assessed for the treatment if they are thought to be at high risk with a clinical condition or are taking certain immunosuppressant medications.
They must also have received a positive PCR test and have symptoms of Covid that started in the last five days.
Those who may be eligible will also be written to in early January to give them information and provide them with PCR test kits.
Lead clinical pharmacist Arlene Shaw said: “It is really positive to welcome Penny to the hospital as the first patient in Tayside to receive the treatment. She has done really well and we are very pleased to be able to offer this treatment to eligible patients who have high-risk underlying health conditions.
“It works to neutralise the virus quickly, which is why we have to treat people within five days of showing Covid symptoms.
“However, it is important to say that the treatments are in addition to Covid-19 vaccinations and don’t replace them. Getting vaccinated is still the most important step that anyone can take to minimise the impact of Covid-19.”