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Coronavirus

Monoclonal antibody infusion clinics for COVID-19 patients to help decrease hospitalizations

Starting Tuesday, January 19th a monoclonal antibody infusion clinic (MABIC) began at Desert Regional Medical Center. These antibodies are something that can help people develop an immunity and the ability to fight off COVID if they're in early stages of the disease.

There are two possible monoclonal antibodies (mabs). The first is referred to as BAM (Bamlanivimab) developed by Lilly. The second is a two-drug doublet but infused as a single IV infusion of CAS/IMD (Casirivimab/Imdevimab) developed by Regeneron.

Tim Tyler, PharmD is the director of pharmacy, lab, and oncology services at Desert Regional Medical Center. He said, “Now we can get this treatment in them, theoretically it will reduce the possibility of the infection becoming more serious and requiring hospitalization.” The other goal is then to lessen the strain hospitals are facing amid the pandemic.

Eisenhower Health had its first clinic on December 18th. “To date we have infused 114 individuals and only 2 have been admitted to the hospital," said Kenneth Lichtenstein, MD with Eisenhower Health. Doctors have ensured patients that any side effects have been minimal. “About 5 people have developed a low grade fever for a day or 2 afterwards and we had 2 people that developed rashes. All of these were easily managed with over the counter medications," said Lichtenstein.

Those who meet the qualifications would make an appointment through their physician. “It would be an hour infusion and then we would monitor the patient for an hour just to make sure they’re tolerating it and there’s no problem," said Tyler. The qualifications for Desert Regional Medical Center:

·         COVID-19 Positive by lab test

·         Within 10 days of diagnosis

·         Mild to moderate symptoms only

·         Determined to be clinically stable for treatment

The qualifications with Eisenhower Health will predominantly be for those who are 65 and older, "Those who are obese because that’s a risk factor for hospitalization, people with chronic kidney disease, people who are on immunosuppressant therapy or folks who are immunosuppressed,” said Lichtenstein. Click here for Eisenhower Health COVID Infusion Center full qualifications and additional information.

Desert Regional's chief quality officer Christine Langenwalter said in an interview, "So let's say somebody comes to our emergency room and they're not requiring oxygen at home or they're not sick enough to be at the hospital but we want to keep them in that state we want to help them battle this and get over it quickly. We can give them an infusion. It does require an intravenous line it does require you to get 30 minutes of monitoring past the one hour infusion. And so it did take a little bit of setup for us to be able to do that in fusion clinic, but we are setting it up so that our doctors in the emergency room can prescribe that clinic to our patients that don't need to be hospitalized yet, are there, but are still suffering from COVID, so that that clinic. I think is hopefully another reason to, to celebrate that the sun is coming out and we're hopefully going to battle this and get this under control really quickly."

"The stated goal is to minimize the ongoing need for worsening cases to be hospitalized and as the patients age increases the number needed to treat falls so that if we can treat some of our elderly population, this will reduce hospitalizations and hopefully, ultimately the death rate. As part of OWS (Operation Warp Speed) these agents are provided without charge," said officials with Desert Regional.

News Channel 3's Taban Sharifi will have more details on these clinics and how you can make an appointment tonight on KESQ News Channel 3.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.

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