DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Convalescent plasma has been in high demand since the start of the pandemic, with its antibodies able to help those battling severe cases of COVID-19. Now scientists have found a proactive antibody treatment that can start to reverse coronavirus symptoms before they get out of hand.
The new treatment is called Bamlanivimab, and it is already being used at hospitals in the Miami Valley. Kettering Health Network patient safety officer, Jeffrey Weinstein, said the new treatment is more specific for treating COVID-19 than convalescent plasma.
“This product is actually made in the lab and so it’s manufactured. Essentially, they take the genes that produce antibodies to the virus and they use only that. And then they essentially grow it up in large numbers so you have a large volume of antibody in the product with no other types of antibodies in it.”
Similar to convalescent plasma, the therapy is administered through an IV over the course of an hour. In contrast, however, the treatment is not intended for those admitted to the hospital or who’ve begun oxygen therapy.
The goal, Weinstein said, is to keep patients from getting dangerously sick to begin with. Due to limited quantities of the antibodies the organization is prioritizing those most at risk.
“People who are over 65-years-old, people who are diabetic, people who have morbid obesity, people who have cancer or other immunosuppressive conditions — maybe heart and lung disease –they are more likely to benefit from the drug, so those are the patients that we would prioritize.”
Of those who receive the treatment, Weinstein said about four percent fewer end up getting admitted to the hospital compared to those received a placebo. Even this small percentage, Weinstein said, could significantly help mitigate an overload on health care systems.
To receive the therapy, patients must test positive for COVID-19 and have a referral from a primary care physician or an emergency department doctor. More information regarding Kettering Health’s use and administration of the antibody treatment can be found here.