New COVID antibody treatment found highly effective in preventing hospitalizations

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This photo provided by Eli Lilly shows the drug bamlanivimab. On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, the company said that the two-antibody combo of bamlanivimab and etesevimab reduced the risk of hospitalizations or death by 70% in newly diagnosed, non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients at high risk of serious illness because of age or other health conditions. (Eli Lilly via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- More than 500 patients have passed through St. Peter’s Health Partners’ (SPHP) monoclonal antibody infusion clinic to receive treatment for COVID-19. An additional antibody was approved on an emergency basis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tuesday.

When available, etesevimab will be given in conjunction with Eli Lilly and Company’s bamlanivimab, said Melissa Fiorini, M.D., clinical director at SPHP monoclonal antibody infusion clinic. She said the combination antibody treatment will better treat variant strains of COVID-19.

“I think it becomes more of an issue when we start to see the variant forms of the virus because if you have two different antibodies, working on two different sites, then you’re less likely to have the variants be able to escape,” said Dr. Fiorini.

Bamlanivimab was the first antibody infusion treatment approved by the FDA to treat patients at high risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 in early November. The treatment, considered investigational, was found to be effective in preventing hospitalization of high-risk COVID-19 positive patients.

Bamlanivimad alone was found to decrease the percentage of high-risk COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized or seeking emergency room visits compared to those who did not receive the antibody treatment from 10% to 3%. When given together, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, reduced the occurrence of hospitalization or death by 70% in clinical trials.

As with Regeneron’s casirivimab/imdevimab antibody treatment, patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible for Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment.

Eligibility

  • Must have a positive SARS-CoV-2 test 
  • Weigh at least 40 kg (about 88 pounds)
  • At high risk for hospitalization or severe COVID-19 illness

High-risk considerations

  • Over 65 years old
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 35
  • Be a diabetic
  • Have chronic renal disease
  • Have an immunosuppressive disease or currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Are at least 55 years old with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory diseases

It’s important for the antibody treatment to be administered before a patient’s condition worsens to the point of needing hospitalization or high-flow oxygen treatment, 7-10 days after symptoms begin. Once symptoms progress to severe the patient is no longer eligible to get treatment, said Dr. Fiorini.

COVID-19 positive patients who meet eligibility criteria can get a referral from their doctor for treatment at SPHP’s monoclonal antibody clinic. Patients without a primary care physician can email MABReferrals@sphp.com to get information about treatment.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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