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HUNTINGDON (November 30) — Baptist Memorial Hospital-Carroll County now offers a monoclonal antibody treatment for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
Nina Smothers, pharmacy director, said the local hospital is providing the treatment to prevent patients, who have tested positive for COVID-19, from being hospitalized or placed in the intensive care unit. The goal is to keep the patients from getting sicker, said Smothers.
The medicine requires a doctor’s order and is provided as an outpatient service. It is administered by IV over a one-hour period. After administration, the patient must be monitored at least one hour by medical personnel before being released.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients. Bamlanivimab is authorized for patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds, and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. This includes those who have certain chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, respiratory disease, asthma, or neurodevelopmental disorders.
To be effective, Smothers said the antibody must be administered within 10 days of the positive diagnosis.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody that is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.
Bamlanivimab was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression.
Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies, such as bamlanivimab, may be associated with worse clinical outcomes when administered to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring high flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation.