December 02, 2020

COVID-19: 'This treatment gives us some hope' - Meet the nurse who is the first to receive new 'antibody cocktail'

November 21, 2020

Intensive care nurse Karen Simeson is the first person on the planet to get a new antibody cocktail injection specifically designed to protect people from COVID-19.

The setting - a small office block in Wakefield - is incongruous. The kitchen has been turned into a make-shift pharmacy where the drug is stored and prepared.

For many, getting a coronavirus vaccine is not an option; people who are already sick or old have a weakened immune system.

This antibody treatment from AstraZeneca - which will be trialled on 1,000 people in the UK - has the potential to protect people instantly and last between six months and a year.

It is also hoped it can target healthcare professionals to keep frontline workers safe from the virus.

Karen says she wanted the treatment so she can get back to some sort of normality.

"Professionally, I've seen the impact that COVID has had on people through working on ICU. It's been devastating on patients and their relatives," she says.

"For me, this is a personal thing - I haven't seen my mum and dad since March. I miss seeing my friends, hugging my girls.

"Getting some normality back for me and my kids is so important."

After Karen received the injection, she was monitored by a paramedic - but speaking to Sky News afterwards she was happy and excited to be the first person to have had it.

She was also hopeful this could work for many in the future.

"This treatment gives us some hope," she says. "I want that for everybody.

"I see how hard my colleagues are working on the frontline. We can't go out and have a laugh, there's no break for us.

"We all just want that normality back desperately and hopefully this can offer that.

"This is hugely important because we know we're going to need more than just one thing to save us.

"Realistically the number of people who are going to need vaccines, or what I've had today, is huge.

"We can't rely on just the one treatment. With many different versions I hope we can roll it out quicker and wider to protect everybody."

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The next recipient to arrive is a friend of Karen's, a healthcare worker in Yorkshire - another person who will do what it takes in order to live a normal life.

The medics in charge here are confident this antibody drug will work and optimistic it could protect people for up to a whole year from coronavirus.

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