The new treatment, monoclonal antibody therapy Bamlanivimab, is an outpatient infusion treatment for patients at high-risk of developing severe COVID-19.
CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — McLeod Health is offering a new treatment for COVID-19 patients who are at high risk for the virus.
The treatment, monoclonal antibody therapy Bamlanivimab, is an outpatient infusion treatment for patients at high-risk of developing severe COVID-19.
McLeod Health classifies high risk patients as the following: age 65 or older, ages 55 to 64 or older with hypertension, heart disease, or respiratory disease, or patients 18 and older who have a BMI of 35 or more, diabetes, hypertension, or immunosuppressive disease.
McLeod officials say the greatest benefit to the treatment is when it is used within five days of COVID-19 symptom onset. If it has been more than 10 days since symptoms began patients are ineligible for the treatment.
McLeod Health Clarendon Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Catherine Rabon said the key for this treatment is to get early.
“I can’t stress how important it is to access it as early as you start having symptoms as possible. We have some patients that say we’ll let me see if I get sicker and then I’ll get it,” Rabon said. “Unfortunately, as you start getting sicker it’s less effective because it does attack when the virus is live in your system and the higher the viral load the more improvement we see in symptoms.”
So far, Rabon said they have treated about 1,000 patients system wide and about 200 in Clarendon County.
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“We have had some phenomenal results, everybody response to the treatment is different,” Rabon said. “Some people will feel during the infusion that they feel like they are getting better, we see their vital signs improve, some people it takes a few days, we’ve had one person who called back and said thank you so much and that it a miracle in a bag, so we are very encouraged by the response we are getting.”
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McLeod Health is screening patients 55 and older who have been tested at a McLeod Health Specimen Collection Unit or Emergency Department and are positive for COVID-19 for possible treatment and contacting these patients with information about the therapy.
McLeod officials say the medication is a 1-hour IV infusion, followed by a 1-hour monitoring period. In total an appointment lasts roughly 3 hours.
For more information on the treatment, click here.
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