WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Restaurant owner Derek McCray felt sick when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus last year.
"I thought I had a death sentence," said the owner and founder of McCray's Barbecue.
Then he started on what was an experimental treatment called monoclonal antibody infusion.
Those infected with COVID-19 take artificial proteins intravenously to neutralize the illness until their own antibodies build up to fight the virus.
"It kind of brought me back to life," McCray said.
"This is a game-changer," said Dr. Kitonga Kiminyo, the chairman of the Coronavirus Task Force for the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society of Palm Beach County. "This is a lifesaver."
Kiminyo said people need to get treatment soon after their diagnosis and adds that many are eligible.
"It's free. It's one time," Kiminyo said. "It will protect you, and keep your COVID from worsening to the point where you have to go to the hospital."
The treatment recently received emergency use approval from the FDA.
Kiminyo said it's for people over 65 or with chronic medical conditions, even if they've been vaccinated and become infected with the coronavirus.
"It's basically people we worry about the most who, once they test positive, may end up in the hospital," Kiminyo said.
The treatment was experimental when then-President Donald Trump received the infusion after his diagnosis last fall.
"I could feel a change in my energy level," McCray said, who was a part of an earlier clinical trial when he got the infusion. "I could feel some of the brain fog lifting. I could feel like, 'OK, I might have a shot at this.'"
Most health officials call the coronavirus vaccines the best defense against getting sick.
But for those already infected, Kiminyo and doctors around the U.S., say monoclonal antibody infusions will be needed during the next wave of coronavirus cases.
Click here to find out information on where this treatment is offered locally or call 1-877-332-6585.