DAYTON – Premier Health is offering a new antibody therapy for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk for severe illness but who currently are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.
Bamlanivimab received emergency use authorization from the Food & Drug Administration earlier this month. While the investigational therapy’s safety and effectiveness continue to be evaluated, the therapy has been shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19 related hospitalizations or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days of treatment, according to its manufacturer, Eli Lilly.
Premier Health has begun offering the therapy at select ambulatory locations. This medication is not available for hospitalized patients, and its availability will be limited initially. A referral from a primary care or emergency care provider is required.
“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.”
Eligible patients must have just received their first positive result for the virus, with the onset of symptoms within the past seven days. As a result, the window of opportunity to be treated with Bamlanivimab is limited, as the body generally has begun generating its own antibodies after several days of symptoms, rendering the drug less effective.
In addition, patients must have at least one factor that places them at higher risk for severe illness or hospitalization, including being age 65 or older and meeting certain criteria for chronic health disease.
Bamlanivimab is still being studied, and all possible side effects might not yet be known. Some potential side effects could include allergic reactions. Bamlanivimab also could interfere with the body’s ability to fight off a future COVID-19 infection and could reduce the body’s immune response to a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Eli Lilly.