Madison County resident talks about monoclonal antibody treatment

Sept. 21

Madison County resident wants the public to know more about monoclonal antibody treatments 

EDWARDSVILLE — Ryan Cunningham felt he did everything right — wore a mask, socially distanced and got vaccinated — but it didn’t prevent him from contracting COVID-19.

“I was in so much pain, my whole body hurt,” Cunningham said. “I knew I had it, but when I took the test it came back negative.”

The Troy resident said he took a second test, a rapid one, and it showed he was positive. He said it was a Sunday and he could not reach his doctor, however he called several emergency rooms about the monoclonal antibody (mAB) infusion therapy treatment.

“You need a doctor’s prescription for it and every hospital emergency department has different standards for getting it,” he said.

Cunningham realized he wouldn’t be able to go an ER, so he scheduled a telehealth appointment with BJC Healthcare. He said the earliest they told him he could get in for treatment would be in two days, due to the required PCR test prior to the start of therapy.

“This treatment is supposed to keep people out of the hospital and there is no easy resource to go to and find out about it,” he said.

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler agreed. He said the Health Advisory Committee discussed the treatment at its meeting on Sept. 7 and the question was asked why the public doesn’t know more about it.

“The more people who know about this treatment and get it, it keeps them out of the hospital and makes the space available for people with other condition and illnesses

People who got the vaccine can get this treatment,” Prenzler said. “It’s important more people know about it, so COVID-positive patients can be treated as quickly as possible.”

One committee member worried that if people know about the treatment they would be less likely to get vaccinated. Another committee member said that people should know about it because it’s a matter of life death.

Cunningham said he understands the frustration, especially by the vaccinated. He said after receiving his first Moderna shot he started experiencing tachycardia, which is an increased heart rate.

He said that within five days his symptoms were so bad he went to the emergency room for treatment. Despite the issues he suffered, he got a second shot.

“It was the right thing to do,” he said.

Cunningham believes in science, especially since he works in emergency medical services and holds a masters degree in emergency services management – disaster prepardness.

After getting the infusion at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, he went home and slept. The next morning he woke up feeling 95 percent better.

“I went from terrible to fantastic,” he said. “If I hadn’t advocated for my health, I would still have been waiting or worse. I insisted on fighting for myself.”

Six medical facilities in Madison County offer the treatment:

  • Alton Memorial Hospital, Alton
  • OSF Saint Anthony’s, Alton
  • Foxpoint Dialysis, 1300 Schaeffer Road, Granite City
  • Gateway Regional Medical Center, Granite City
  • Anderson Hospital, Maryville
  • NorthGrove Dialysis, 2491 Industrial Court, Suite 200, Highland

For more information on treatment sites, visit the U. S Department of Health and Human Services Public Data Hub at