COVID-19 survivor hopes to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatments

Survivor Corps offers resources, research studies and support

'Survivor Corps' working to increase access to treatment, research & support

In the fight against COVID-19, knowledge is power.

Many people have struggled to find the information they need, especially when it comes to treatments like monoclonal antibodies.

Diana Berrent is working to close that gap.

“I was one of the first people in America to get a positive diagnosis of COVID in early March 2020,” Berrent said.

She spent 18 days in isolation in her Long Island, New York home, and emerged determined to help others battle the virus, and ultimately help end the pandemic.

READ: COVID treatment: Henry Ford Health works to increase access to monoclonal antibody therapy

“If I was going to be one of the first survivors, there were going to be many to follow. I had no idea how many at that point, but that if we could come together as a coalition, as an army of survivors, we can donate our plasma, we could participate in the scientific process. And that’s what we’ve done,” Berrent said.

Berrent founded Survivor Corps. It’s a grassroots movement designed to bring survivors together for support and to participate in scientific research efforts. Their motto is to empathize, organize and mobilize.

“Empathize, organize, mobilize, I mean, that is the core of who Survivor Corps is,” Berrent said. “We are an open group, we are open to everybody on our Facebook group, we have over 160,000 members.”

The Survivor Corps website is also a one-stop-shop for information about treatments, research studies and support for people battling long COVID.

“The consequences are enormous and it’s so important to know what resources are available. So we have a map of all of the post-COVID care centers around the country, so you can get access. There are programs that you can access through telemedicine. There are webinars that you can watch on every subject from hair loss to pulmonary issues, to you name it. We’ve interviewed experts from absolutely every field, and continue to do so,” Berrent said.

Berrent is also passionate about increasing access to monoclonal antibodies -- the cutting-edge treatment that President Trump received.

“We were all watching and saying, ‘Oh my God. If only, if only that was available to the rest of us.’ But the truth is, it is. And it is sitting on shelves, and available for free if you qualify,” Berrent said.

Survivor Corps has a webpage to see if you qualify and links to clinical trials to participate in if you don’t.

“If you’re over 65, you automatically qualify,” Berrent said. “If you’re over 65, we will get a nurse for free to your home within 24 to 36 hours to administer this treatment so you don’t even have to leave your home.”

When given in the first 10 days of a COVID infection, monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent hospitalizations and severe complications.

“The most important thing is that people get it as soon as possible after diagnosis,” Berrent said. “You want to get monoclonal antibodies while you still feel good, so you stay feeling good.”

Berrent hopes even more survivors will join her fight.

“There’s a reason why we call it the ‘epicenter of hope,’ because these are bleak times, but this is an example of just ordinary citizens coming together to help each other. And hopefully saving lives,” Berrent said.

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.