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Dr. John Fleming is a Colorado Springs psychiatrist and an M.D. who came down with COVID-19 in December, he was able to get an infusion of Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody drug that helped him avoid the hospital and begin feeling better, at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. As a person in his 70s, Dr. Fleming is considered to be in the group of people at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms that could lead to hospitalization.
When it comes to monoclonal antibodies for COVID positive people who are at high-risk, Dr. John Fleming says, “My advice would be, here is a new treatment that caused no pain whatsoever and immediately allowed me to begin getting better. I would definitely ask (your doctor) for it.”
Along with vaccines that continue to be rolled out, monoclonal antibody drugs are also helping to save lives and beat the evolving virus.
Casey Peat, RN is the infusion clinic manager at UCHealth Memorial who says keeping high-risk patients out of the hospital is the goal. “Patients that are considered to be at high risk have pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma, and obesity. They can talk to their primary care provider (if they test positive for COVID) who can send a referral through to the state. Then ultimately (if that person qualifies) the state will send the infusion clinic an order for the medication. We want to keep these patients out of the hospital and keep them at home.”
Dr. John Fleming got the Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody drug Bamlanivimab at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in December. The other maker of a monoclonal antibody drug is Regeneron. Both drugs recently received new emergency use authorization in early February from the FDA after beefing up their approach to deal with the emerging variants of COVID-19.
Eli Lilly’s new drug combines Bamlanivimab with a second drug called Estesevimab, and Regeneron has also brought forward a new cocktail of monoclonal antibodies. Casey says, “Giving the cocktail is two antibodies rather than a single (monoclonal) antibody. We also have the new Regeneron cocktail, so we have two different types of monoclonal antibody cocktails we can administer.”
Recently the Biden administration purchased 100,000 of these antibody cocktails for high-risk patients, and here in southern Colorado UCHealth is well stocked, says Casey. “UCHealth Memorial has 200 doses currently in-house, and we don't see any issue with receiving more in the future, so we feel that we are in a good place to continue to provide this treatment to patients that need it.”
Remember, if you are a person with preexisting conditions that put you at high risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19, and you test positive make sure to have a conversation with your doctor about if you might qualify for an infusion of the Bamlanivimab antibody cocktail or the Regeneron antibody cocktail.
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