YANKTON, S.D. — Avera is now offering a new treatment for COVID-19 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization (EAU) for bamlanivimab, an investigational monoclonal antibody (mAB) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients.
The EAU was issued to Eli Lilly and Company.
Avera has received its first allocation of bamlanivimab and has administered the therapy to over 150 patients. The therapy, offered only through intravenous (IV) infusion, is primarily being directed to the elderly and those at high risk for future hospitalization of COVID-19. It’s approved for anyone over age 12.
Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or those requiring oxygen therapy or ventilation. Bamlanivimab should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test and/or within 10 days of the onset of symptoms.
“Especially during this surge in COVID illness, it is encouraging to be able to offer therapy that could potentially prevent hospitalizations. Not only could this be beneficial to individuals and families, it could also benefit health care systems and frontline caregivers who are feeling the strain of increasing numbers,” said Chad Thury, DO, Medical Director for Avera@Home Home Care and Avera Medical Group Quality and Innovation.
Avera has also been taking part in clinical studies for a similar mAB product manufactured by Regeneron since August. Regeneron just received an EAU as well and more information will be coming soon about its availability.
“This is one more tool we can turn to as we strive to help high-risk patients overcome and even prevent serious illness due to COVID-19,” Thury said.
Bamlanivimab is an investigational neutralizing IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19. It is designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, thus neutralizing the virus, potentially treating COVID-19.
The allocation Avera received is part of 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab purchased by the U.S. government. The government has committed that Americans will have no out-of-pocket costs for the medicine, other than a fee charged by health care facilities for the administration of the product. The federal government is responsible for the appropriate allocation of bamlanivimab, proportionally based on confirmed COVID-19 cases in each state and territory.
Patients who are at high risk who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider right away to see if bamlanivimab or another treatment would be helpful in preventing hospitalization. This includes people who are 65 years of age or older or who have certain chronic medical conditions. Examples of these conditions include cancer, COPD, kidney disease, heart conditions, an immunocompromised state and diabetes.
“The best cure for COVID-19 is prevention, and so we continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask, practice social distancing, stay home when sick, observe good hand hygiene, and take other measures that will limit the spread of this virus,” Thury said.
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