New coronavirus antibody treatment available at area hospitals

Credit: Lee Ann Yahle

Credit: Lee Ann Yahle

A new coronavirus antibody treatment called bamlanivimab is now available for qualified patients at Kettering Health Network and Premier Health.

The treatment was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in early November. Clinical trial results indicated bamlanivimab helps prevent hospitalizations and emergency room visits, as well as reduces the risk of coronavirus progressing.

“This experimental treatment joins others such as convalescent plasma therapy and Regeneron’s antibody treatment as potential ways to help those who have contracted COVID-19,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, system vice president of quality and safety for Premier Health and associate chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital. “The monoclonal antibodies are basically lab-produced proteins that mimic that body’s immune response and help fight off the virus. The reduction in hospitalizations associated with investigational use of this therapy are encouraging to see, but bamlanivimab remains in limited supply.”

Premier Health is offering the treatment at select ambulatory locations for those who are high-risk for severe cases but are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. It is not available to hospitalized patients.

Eligible patients must have just received their first positive coronavirus test result with the onset of symptoms showing in the last seven days. Patients also must have a referral from their primary care or an emergency care provider. Premier Health noted that the treatment is still being studied and that all the possible side effects may not be known.

Kettering Health is also offering the treatment to eligible patients suffering from moderate symptoms, including fever, cough, chills and shortness of breath.

“This is another tool in our arsenal against COVID-19. By using bamlanivimab, we hope to help more patients avoid hospital stays,” said Jeffrey Weinstein, MD, patient safety officer for Kettering Health Network. “We will continue to seek the latest advancements to ensure that the people of southwest Ohio have access to the best possible care.”

A doctor referral is required to receive the treatment and primary care or emergency room caregivers will determine if the patient qualifies.

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