Patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have a new treatment option in Minot that may help them avoid a stay in the hospital.
Trinity Health has opened an outpatient infusion clinic for administering Bamlanivimab, or BAM, a monoclonal antibody therapeutic. In November the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of BAM for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients.
The infusion clinic is located at Trinity Health East Ridge, 1250 21st Ave SE, Minot, and accepts referrals from providers across the region both within and outside of Trinity Health. Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 should talk to their primary care provider about eligibility and referrals.
Monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that mimic the antibodies in patients who have recovered from COVID-19. BAM specifically targets SARS-CoV-2 to block the virus from attaching to and entering human cells.
“We established this clinic so we can provide outpatient treatment to high-risk COVID-19 patients, with the goal of preventing hospitalization,” explained Casmiar Nwaigwe, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist at Trinity Health and Medical Director of the infusion clinic. “Not only can monoclonal antibody infusion help reduce severity of illness for the patient; it can also ease the numbers of COVID-19 admissions to hospitals, which have been strained across the nation in recent months.”
Dr. Nwaigwe noted that treatment is likely to be more beneficial when given early in the course of COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19-positive patients who qualify for BAM include anyone age 12 years and older and weighing at least 88 pounds. For adults, treatment with BAM may be an option for patients who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Are 65 years of age or older
- Have obesity as measured by a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
- Have diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or conditions that weaken the immune system
- Take medications that can weaken the immune system
- Are 55 years of age or older and have heart disease or chronic lung disease
Anyone of any age, sick with COVID-19 and with other underlying health conditions, may benefit from BAM infusion depending on their risk factors. Pediatric patients age 12-17 are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
BAM is administered as a one-time infusion over one hour. Patients are asked to remain at the infusion clinic for roughly one hour after the infusion to monitor for any side effects. BAM is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, who require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, or who require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19 in patients who are on chronic oxygen therapy due to underlying non-COVID-19 related conditions.
For more information about monoclonal antibody therapy available at Trinity Health, visit: www.trinityhealth.org/BAMtherapy.