Residents with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms and are at higher risk for related complications have another treatment available at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System to help aid in their recovery. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody therapy for treating COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory created proteins that replicate the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Bamlanivimab is available to non-hospitalized adults and adolescents with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, weighing 88 pounds or more who are at a high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or the need for hospitalization. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the yet to be approved medical intervention, Bamlanivimab.
At the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, eligible patients for the infusion treatment must be at least 18 years of age and have certain risk factors such as diabetes, heart disease or COPD that increases their risk of severe COVID-19 complications. Potential patients need to be screened for this treatment through an in-person or telemedicine visit. This outpatient therapy, available only with a physician order, is administered at St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago, through a one-hour-long intravenous infusion then an additional hour of observation. Not all COVID-19 positive patients qualify for this treatment. Individuals who are hospitalized or require oxygen due to COVID-19 symptoms are not eligible candidates.
“While the use of Bamlanivimab may prevent the need for hospitalization, it must be administered early in the course of COVID-19,” explained Infectious Disease Specialist Dylan Slotar, MD, on the medical staff of Community Hospital, Munster, St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart. “Recent studies have indicated that when given at the early stages of the disease, Bamlanivimab may help reduce COVID-related symptoms and lead to decreased hospitalizations.”
The FDA authorized the EUA because patients treated with Bamlanivimab have shown a decrease in virus particle measurements or “decrease in viral load” and reduced rates of symptoms and hospitalization. However, FDA agency officials are quick to point out that at this time, there is limited information known about the safety or effectiveness of using Bamlanivimab to treat people with COVID-19.
Physicians with a patient who may qualify for the infusion can call the Care Navigation team to initiate a referral at 219-703-3115.
For more information about COVID-19 precautions and safeguards at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System: Community Hospital, Munster; St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, and specialty hospital Community Stroke & Rehabilitation Center, Crown Point, visit https://www.COMHS.org/coronavirus.