Community Hospital continues to administer drugs to prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

McCOOk, Neb. —Community Hospital’s supply of monoclonal antibody drugs to help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to remain steady, according to Anthony Rodewald, Director of Pharmacy. The two medications available were authorized for emergency use from the FDA in November for the treatment of COVID-19. They are currently being allocated by the federal government.

Community Hospital administered its first doses of bamlanivimab, one of the monoclonal antibody drugs, in November. Another monoclonal antibody, casirivimab/imdevimab, is also available at Community Hospital. Since receiving several shipments of the drugs, Community Hospital has treated 40 patients, but more could receive the treatment if they meet the criteria.

Rodewald said that patients testing positive for COVID-19 should consider asking their medical provider if they would be a good candidate to receive the medication – and especially those who tested positive through TestNebraska. “The only way a physician will know the results of a TestNebraska test is if the patient contacts their physician,” Rodewald said. He added that a physician’s order is required for the treatment, which is administered through a scheduled, outpatient infusion.

“We have a very promising treatment for patients early in their diagnoses versus existing treatment options aimed at helping patients recover after they have already progressed to severe disease resulting in hospitalization,” he said. “Data from the ongoing Blaze-1 trial has shown that when this antibody is given early in the course of the disease, patients experienced fewer symptoms and decreased hospitalizations. In certain high-risk patients it may even reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent, which would be a game-changer,” he added.

Patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive the drug, including those who are ages 12 and older and have a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The patient must not need hospitalization or oxygen due to COVID-19, but be at high risk for hospitalization.

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