Source: The News-Enterprise
Baptist Health Hardin has begun offering a new treatment option for non-hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID-19, have mild-to-moderate illness and are at high-risk of developing severe complications and possible hospitalization, according to a news release.
The use of Bamlanivimab or a combination drug (casirivimab/imdevimab) is an important step in the fight against COVID-19, the release said. It said these treatments are approved under an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for use in patients 12 years and older who have exhibited mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms for 10 or fewer days, and who are at high risk to get very sick from COVID-19.
“This cutting-edge treatment is an important part of our multi-faceted approach to treating COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. John Godfrey, vice president and chief medical officer with Baptist Health Hardin, in the release. “Prior to this treatment option, non-hospitalized patients were limited to a few oral medications intended to reduce the body’s inflammatory response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Now, we have a treatment to help the body’s immune system fight the virus and help some high-risk COVID-19 patients stay out of the hospital.”
Patients who meet specific criteria will be able to take one of two monoclonal antibody treatments. According to the release, the medicines include man-made antibodies similar to those of recovered COVID-19 patients. These man-made antibodies are designed to mimic the body’s immune system to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus once it is infused.
“SARS-CoV-2 is a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics; instead, the body must create antibodies to fight off the virus,” said Ashleigh Mouser, PharmD, BCPS, pharmacy clinical coordinator at BHH, in the release. “The immune system takes time to make antibodies to fight. This treatment is like a time machine that helps the immune system speed up the process.”
Godfrey explained that bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab may help limit the amount of virus in a COVID-19 patient and potentially limit symptoms, length of illness and reduce the need to be admitted to the hospital.
Bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab treatments are limited and are administered by physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant orders, the release said.
The release said patients are encouraged to contact their health care provider if they think they may have COVID-19. Treatments may be prescribed to the most high-risk patients who have a test-confirmed COVID-19 infection, as long as the medication can be infused within 10 days of the onset of symptoms. Also, the release said while the EUA indicates these monoclonal antibodies are indicated for patients 12-years-old and older, the hospital is only able to provide these to patients 18 years old and older because of space and staffing limitations as a result of COVID-19, the release said.
Bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab treatments come as BHH has administered more than 5,000 Moderna COVID vaccines to Phases 1A and 1B since Dec. 23.
Godfrey reiterated this drug is not a replacement for the vaccine.
“We are excited about these new tools in our arsenal to treat COVID-19, however, it should not be considered a replacement for the vaccine,” Godfrey said in the release. “We encourage our community to get the vaccine according to Kentucky’s Phased Vaccine Distribution Plan.”
Residents can go to the Baptist Health Hardin website, hmh.net, for the most up-to-date information on vaccine opportunities.