The first drug for treatment of mild to moderate symptomatic COVID-19 in high-risk, non-hospitalized patients has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA, and is now available across CHI Health. The monoclonal antibody therapy Bamlanivimab, produced by Ely Lilly and purchased by the federal government for distribution across the country, shows promise in helping reduce hospitalizations of high-risk patients who have contracted the virus.
During the initial dissemination, CHI Health will be receiving limited doses of the drug to be administered at multiple sites across the region at outpatient infusion sites, including at Midlands, St. Elizabeth, St. Francis, Good Samaritan, St. Mary, Schuyler, Missouri Valley, Plainview, Corning and St. Alexius in North Dakota.
“Although it’s still in the investigational stage, this is exciting because it’s the first drug that shows promise in treating high-risk patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, and may prevent their need for hospitalization,” CHI Health Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services Dave Schmidt explained. “We don’t know what to expect with the overall demand, but we anticipate that our supply will increase week after week as the company increases their production of the drug.”
Those who will be eligible for Bamlanivimab are patients 12 years or older who have had a positive COVID-19 test and are exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms, and have pre-existing conditions and other high-risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, respiratory disease or aged 65 years and older. The treatment takes approximately one hour, followed by an additional hour to monitor patients for adverse reactions.
“With this drug, patients can be treated and then sent home to hopefully recover without need for hospitalization,” Schmidt said.
The BLAZE-1 clinical trial of Bamlanivimab involved 309 patients who received the treatment. Of those who were considered high-risk, only 3% of patients who were administered bamlanivimab were subsequently hospitalized due to COVID-19, versus 10% of those who received a placebo. Resolution of symptoms also occurred a few days sooner for patients who received the drug versus those who received a placebo. “It’s not an overwhelming difference, but the best thing we have for now,” Schmidt added.
Learn more about who is eligible for Bamlanivimab.