MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Ascension Providence will offer monoclonal antibody treatments amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Mobile County.
Here is the unedited press release:
MOBILE, Ala. (Aug. 20, 2021) — In response to the surge of COVID-19 cases, Ascension Providence is offering an investigational medical treatment in which monoclonal antibodies are given to patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
Patients who are already in the hospital or requiring oxygen because of COVID-19 infection are not eligible for the outpatient treatment.
Ascension Providence has received doses of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment called REGEN-COV. It is a combination of two antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab) used for early treatment of mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
REGEN-COV has been granted an Emergency Usage Approval (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on research data. Clinical trials have shown monoclonal antibodies have likely benefit in preventing emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. REGEN-COV is being administered via subcutaneous injections.
Clinical trials have shown that patients who receive the antibody therapy have less severe symptoms from COVID-19 and recover sooner. The antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond effectively to the virus.
“Ascension Providence is offering monoclonal antibody injections to patients who meet certain clinical criteria and are COVID-19 positive,” said Dr. Ijaz Iqbal, chief medical officer at Ascension Providence.
To be eligible for the outpatient treatment, individuals must have at least one condition that puts them at high risk for major complications or death from COVID-19. The high-risk categories include:
⦁ Older age (for example 65 years and older)
⦁ Obesity or being overweight
⦁ Chronic Kidney Disease
⦁ Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment
⦁ Cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure
⦁ Chronic lung diseases
⦁ Sickle cell disease
⦁ Neurodevelopmental disorders
⦁ Having a medical-related technological dependence (for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation – not related to COVID-19)
⦁ Other medical conditions of factors that place patients at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19
Ascension Providence is seeing a higher percentage of patients under 50 years old being hospitalized compared to a year ago, with many patients in their 20s and 30s. To date, 93 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations at Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast locations have occurred among patients who are not vaccinated.
The antibody to neutralize the virus has to be given to patients in a narrow window of time – within 10 days of when they start showing symptoms, but before they’re sick enough to be hospitalized. Ideally, the drug should be given within three days of a positive test for COVID-19.
Patients may be referred to the program by their primary care physician by calling 251-266-3197. Ascension Providence is working with other healthcare organizations to promote vaccination and set up sites for monoclonal antibody injections.