TidalHealth to begin administering new COVID-19 treatment
SALISBURY, Md. – Starting Tuesday, TidalHealth will become a regional referral site for the administration of a new COVID-19 treatment that drew attention when it was used to treat COVID-19 in President Donald Trump.
Officials tell us that Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody produced by Eli Lilly & Co., was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on November 9th. Only six hospitals in the state of Maryland are in the first wave of those authorized to use the drug, with TidalHealth being the first site on the Eastern Shore.
We’re told, however, not every patient with a positive COVID-19 test will be eligible to receive the drug. Patients should be referred by their doctor, and it will only be given to those who are determined to be at high risk and are good candidates. People who are already hospitalized cannot receive the drug, as it has not been shown to benefit these patients. It is also not intended for children under the age of 12.
Bamlanivimab should be administered as soon as possible following a positive COVID test and within 10 days of the onset of symptoms. It is administered by a single intravenous infusion, and is a lab-created protein that mimics immune system antibodies that block viruses. By blocking viral attachment and entry into human cells, it helps to neutralize the virus. This makes it helpful for those at risk of developing severe symptoms.
“The drug isn’t for people who are already hospitalized – it is used for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and may be at risk for their case to become more severe because of other health factors such as age, diabetes or a compromised immune system,” said John Jordan, PharmD, BCPS, Senior Director of Pharmacy Services TidalHealth. “We are working hard to be able to bring this treatment to patients on the Delmarva Peninsula.”