As the number of positive COVID-19 tests continue to rise in our State as well as in the communities of our service area, MCH&HS is among the first medical facilities to implement the just-released monoclonal antibody treatment known as Bamlanivimab. This medication provides a cutting-edge procedure for specific high risk COVID-positive patients in Washington and Burt County as well as the surrounding areas. MCH&HS CEO Manny Banner noted, “For the first time since the beginning of COVID-19, Bamlanivimab gives our clinicians the ability to treat patients whose disease process has not yet progressed to the point where they need to be hospitalized. This is extremely exciting and gives hope to all of us to have a mechanism to help treat COVID-19 before the patient requires hospitalization.”
Developed by Eli Lilly and Company, this investigational medicine has received an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older that fall into a specific group that is at a high risk for hospitalization.
A patient must have a positive COVID-19 test before they can qualify for the medication Bamlanivimab. There are multiple different tests available, however, only a molecular test, such as is performed during TestNebraska will qualify a patient to be a candidate for administration of this medication. Positive antibody tests or antigen tests will have to be confirmed by the patient undergoing a follow-up molecular test.
In order to qualify for this medication, a patient must meet a set of very specific criteria:
Positive, diagnostic molecular test for COVID-19 with symptom onset within last 10 days
12 years of age or older and weighing at least 88 lbs
High risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or COVID hospitalization (meet one of following)
Age 65 years or older (no additional conditions required)
Adult patient, 18 years or older and at least one of the following:
- Body Mass Index greater than or equal to 35 (severe obesity)
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Immunosuppressive Disease
- Receiving Immunosuppressive Treatment
Age 55 years or older and meet at least one of the following:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- COPD/Chronic Respiratory Disease
Pediatric patient 12-17 years and meet at least one of the following:
- Body Mass Index greater than or equal to 85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth chart
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Congenital or acquired heart disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders (cerebral palsy)
- Medical-related technological dependence (e.g. tracheostomy, gastrostomy, positive pressure ventilation not related to COVID-19)
- Asthma or Reactive airway or chronic respiratory disease requiring daily medication
Bamlanivimab has shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and ER visits in patients who presented with a high probability of potential disease progression. The treatment is not authorized for patients who are already hospitalized or who require additional oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. The procedure involves a one-time intravenous infusion and only a limited number of doses are allocated to MCH&HS weekly.
The medication itself is being provided to MCH&HS at no charge through Operation Warp Speed, so patients are not charged for the medication itself. There is only an administration and supply charge. The cost for administration of the medication is minimal compared to the usual cost of COVID-19 treatment medications. Additionally, most insurances will cover these costs as they would any other outpatient hospital visit.
Patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 and have further questions regarding eligibility for the medication can call our COVID-19 Hotline at 402-426-1689 Monday-Friday from 8AM-4PM.
This new medication comes in addition to two treatment mechanisms that have been available to hospitalized patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19 with moderate to severe symptoms. The medication Remdesivir, as well as Convalescent Plasma, have been in use at MCH&HS for several weeks.
“I once again ask our community members to follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks, wash hands frequently, and avoid crowds,” urges MCH&HS CEO Manny Banner.