Prisma Health is administering the monoclonal antibody treatments, Bamlanivimab and Regeneron, to high-risk COVID-19 patients in the Midlands and Upstate. Both drugs have not been approved but was authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The treatment can be used in patients who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 80 pounds. It is designed for patients who are at high risk for severe disease but are not currently hospitalized and do not require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. The treatment is time-sensitive and must be given as soon as possible after a positive result and within 10 days of developing symptoms.
Patients need a physician’s referral to receive the antibody treatment. If a community member does not have a primary care physician but has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they can access the treatment by scheduling an online exam. They will be screened for eligibility and referred for treatment if needed.
“During the pandemic, Prisma Health is striving to provide the latest treatments for COVID-19 to help our patients,” said Dr. Edwin Hayes, an infectious disease physician in Columbia. “This experimental treatment may offer us an opportunity to potentially help prevent COVID-19 progression. With the unpredictability of this disease, our healthcare team wants to do everything we can to prevent it from escalating to the point of hospitalization and advanced medical care.”
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn added, “The FDA remains committed to advancing the nation’s public health during this unprecedented pandemic. Authorizing these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalization and alleviate the burden on our health care system. As part of our Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, the FDA uses every possible pathway to make new treatments available to patients as quickly as possible while continuing to study the safety and effectiveness of these treatments.”
In a clinical trial studying Bamlanivimab in adult patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who were not hospitalized, the treatment was shown to decrease the need for hospitalizations and emergency department visits and to decrease the amount of virus as measured in the patient through molecular testing of the upper respiratory tract. The most common reported side effects in clinical studies have been nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, itching, and vomiting in between 2 percent and 4 percent of people. Serious reactions such as allergic reactions or infusion reactions have occurred but are uncommon.
For online exams, visit prismahealth.org/virtual-care. Information about Prisma Health’s COVID-19 response, is available at prismahealth.org/coronavirus.