Mon Health System providing new therapies for COVID-19 patients
MORGANTOWN — Mon Health System is dedicated to making a difference in the health of the communities they serve. This has been exemplified throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The System offers on-site COVID-19 testing at each of their hospitals and is now taking the next step in the pandemic fight by offering the latest treatment for COVID-19 patients. Staff are using a variety of new therapies including monoclonal antibody infusions, as well as using the antiviral medication, Remdesivir.
According to Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) Pharmacy Director John Pope, SJMH staff is using one of the two authorized treatments — Bamlanivimab. The System is also using the antibody treatment — Casirivimab/Imdevimab. Both treatments neutralize the amount of COVID-19 in the patient’s body and help the immune system fight the virus. The treatment can lead to quicker recovery time for the patient.
“Due to limited availability of Bamlanivimab, certain high-risk criteria must be met to be given to a patient. Those patients who are considered high-risk for severe illness will be considered for treatment,” Pope explained. “It is administered as a 60-minute infusion, then the patient will be monitored for 60 more minutes after the infusion for any type of reaction to the infusion, which is a low occurrence.”
Mon Health Medical Center Director of Pharmacy Kathy Miller noted, “Mon Health Medical Center has infused approximately 40 doses of monoclonal antibody therapy to date. Our infectious disease prescribers are ensuring that the patients with the highest risk are able to receive the therapy, and we do believe it is keeping patients from requiring hospitalization.”
Patients with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 with one mild or moderate symptom, who are 65 years and older can qualify for the medication within 10 days of being tested. Patients between 18 and 64 can qualify if they have a condition that meets the criteria. There are separate requirements for pediatric patients. Patients should work with their medical provider to understand options.
Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital Pharmacist Director Jennifer Cunningham wrote, “To date, Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital has infused over 30 eligible patients with the monoclonal antibody, Bamlanivimab. We are seeing our targeted, high-risk patients respond very well to the monoclonal antibody infusions.”
Patients should contact their primary care physician for more information.
The System is also utilizing Remdesivir — a drug treatment for hospitalized patients. Unlike the monoclonal antibody infusions, it is an antiviral medication that aids in stopping the replication of COVID-19. Patients who are typically hospitalized with COVID-19 require supplemental oxygen, which is where this medication is utilized. Typically, a patient receives five days of treatment, however, may be extended out to ten days depending on the severity of illness.