Trinity Health opens COVID antibody infusion clinic

COVID-19

The drug Bamlanivimab, the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19. Antibodies are made by the immune system to fight the virus but it can take several weeks after infection for the best ones to form. This and a Regeneron medication aim to help right away, by supplying concentrated doses of one or two antibodies that worked best in lab tests. (Courtesy of Eli Lilly via AP)

COVID-19 patients in the Minot area now have access to Bamlanivimab — a monoclonal antibody treatment.

Last week, KX News reported on the treatment being backed by the North Dakota Medical Association.

Trinity Health announced in a press release Monday that it has opened an outpatient infusion clinic for administering Bamlanivimab, or BAM.

In November the 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.

“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 [the] 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

According to Trinity Health, 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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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