KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Health care providers in the Miami Valley are trying to enroll more COVID-19 patients in monoclonal antibody treatments.
Monoclonal antibody treatments have been available in the Dayton area for about a month, and doctors with Kettering Health Network and Premier Health told 2 NEWS they have the supply to provide it to more patients.
Kettering Health Network has treated around 200 COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibodies so far, according to Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, patient safety officer. But the company wants to reach many more people with the therapy to prevent them from needing to be hospitalized, he said.
“The logistics of it are not terribly easy, and I think that’s why we’re not using up all of the supply of that drug,” Dr. Weinstein explained.
Many patients don’t seek help from a doctor until it’s too late to receive the treatment, Dr. Weinstein said.
Patients must meet certain qualifications set by the FDA for emergency use authorization. They must have tested positive for COVID-19 and be age 65 and over, have certain comorbidities or be age 55 and over with a secondary comorbidity.
The FDA recommends administering the treatment within the first 10 days of symptoms. Patients who are hospitalized or require oxygen therapy to treat COVID-19 do not qualify.
“If we could identify patients very early and refer to this treatment very early within seven to ten days, then it probably is very beneficial for them,” Dr. Weinstein said.
Premier Health is looking to expand the hours and locations offering the antibody infusion to try to reach more patients, according to Dr. Roberto Colon, associate chief medical officer with Miami Valley Hospital.
“This is not a very easy medication to administer, meaning it’s not just a pill you can pick up at the pharmacy and you’re good to go,” Dr. Colon said.
Doctors urge anyone who may qualify for monoclonal antibodies to get tested as quickly as possible after showing symptoms and contact their health care provider.
“It’s going to shorten the duration of symptoms for a lot of people, and hopefully it’s going to also reduce the number of people who are going to have severe enough disease that are going to succumb to this infection,” Dr. Colon said of the treatment.
Patients need a doctor’s referral to receive monoclonal antibodies. The treatment is administered in a single infusion, and the process takes about two and a half hours, including paperwork and monitoring after receiving the antibodies, Dr. Colon said.