Monoclonal antibody infusions have been a beneficial treatment for people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. In the past, this innovative therapy proved helpful in reducing a patient’s risk of hospitalization and complications from the virus. More recently, Parkview Health has revised its outpatient treatment options for those battling the infection. Chris Jellison, vice president, Pharmacy, Parkview Health, further explains these updates and how to take advantage of them.
With recent guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and based on the efficacy and availability of medications, Parkview is now administering remdesivir as an outpatient antiviral treatment to qualifying COVID-positive patients to help prevent disease progression. It was previously only available to hospitalized patients.
Additionally, based on direction from the FDA and the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH), Parkview has also discontinued bamlanivimab/etesevimab and casirivimab/imdevimab because they were ineffective in the treatment of the omicron variant of COVID-19. With that said, Parkview will continue to offer sotrovimab, which is currently the only monoclonal antibody treatment shown to be effective against the omicron strain. However, due to the limited availability of this treatment and compared to the other two discontinued options, the IDOH is allocating only a small weekly supply to hospitals across the state.
Chris Jellison had this to say about the recent outpatient treatment updates, “For the health of the communities we serve, it is important to make these treatments available and help at-risk patients avoid severe COVID-19 that could result in hospitalization or even death.”
How it works
All patients must first see a healthcare provider to determine if they meet the specific criteria for a referral to the infusion clinic. Individuals referred from outside the Parkview health system may need to be re-evaluated by a Parkview provider to ensure they qualify.
Moreover, unlike the single dose monoclonal antibody treatment, the remdesivir antiviral treatment requires three doses over three consecutive days. In anticipation and to accommodate the additional infusions, Parkview decided to open a larger infusion clinic on the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus. These infusions may also be available in Parkview community hospital emergency departments. However, appointments at those hospitals may be subject to availability due to high emergency department volumes.
“We are grateful for the world-class teamwork of our pharmacy, infusion, informatics, and emergency department teams, who together have administered more than 17,000 monoclonal antibody infusions since November of 2020. By offering the most up-to-date treatment options on a large scale, we can continue helping people avoid severe disease progression and reduce potential hospitalizations across the region,” Jellison said.
Despite the number of treatment options available, providers stress that vaccination remains the best option for reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization or death from COVID-19 and its strains.
“Vaccines are truly the best option we have available to protect the health and well-being of our community,” said Jeffrey Boord, MD, MPH, chief quality and safety officer, Parkview Health. “If you are already vaccinated, please also ensure you receive your booster vaccine when eligible. Vaccines are available at the Parkview COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic and most retail pharmacies in our region.”
For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit parkview.com/covidvaccine.