St. Claire Healthcare expands monoclonal antibody therapy

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Photo courtesy St. Claire HealthCare.

MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ) – St. Claire HealthCare is now offering monoclonal antibody therapy for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who tested positive, and are at high risk for complications from the virus.

The healthcare group began offering the treatment through its HomeCare program in August, but the demand for treatment has grown so quickly, it has had to expand capacity.

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To meet the needs of patients, the hospital has repurposed the field tent located just outside the hospital’s main entrance into a Monoclonal Antibody Injection Treatment Center.

“We are really peaking up this week, to the point where we could use up our supply, we’re just kind of watching it but you know, right now it’s use what you got and treat as many people as we can,” says Dr. Amanda Ramey, St. Claire Healthcare Medical Director of Primary Care.

The hospital explains that people who test positive for COVID-19 or know they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and are at high risk for complications may benefit.

REGEN-COV™ is used for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at increased risk for progressing to severe disease and/or requiring hospitalization.

It is also used to prevent COVID-19 in patients who have been exposed to the virus and are at increased risk of progressing to severe disease and/or requiring hospitalization.

After a year and a half of sickness and death, Dr. Ramey says she feels hopeful to see a treatment like Monoclonal Antibody Therapy become available to weaken the blow of COVID on patients, however, she says this treatment is not the end all be all and the most effective tool is the vaccine.

“If we can convince enough people that this vaccine is our hope, and it’s been God-given to us to help us get through this then we would be able to get through it and that’s where I am,” says Ramey. “Is hoping people believe in it and do it and we can treat everybody that comes through our door.”

REGEN-COV™  is not available for patients who require oxygen to treat their COVID-19 symptoms.

If any of the criteria below apply, patients may be eligible for REGEN-COV™:

  • Older age (Ex: age ≥65 years of age)
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment (like daily prednisone)
  • Heart disease (including congenital heart disease)
  • Hypertension
  • Lung diseases (Ex: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma [moderate-to-severe], interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, or pulmonary hypertension)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Neurodevelopmental problems (Ex: cerebral palsy) or other conditions that confer medical complexity (Ex: genetic or metabolic syndromes, or severe congenital anomalies)
  • Having a medical-related technological dependence (Ex: tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation not related to COVID-19)

The FDA has authorized REGEN-COV™ for emergency use.

It consists of two investigational medicines, casirivimab and imdevimab, given together either as an infusion or as injections under the skin. At St. Claire HealthCare, it is given as injections and treatment usually takes about two hours from start to finish.

During a breifing Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear announced this treatment is in short supply nationwide, but Dr. Ramey says all supplies are in a shorter supply these days.

“We never know when we’re getting supplies of anything honestly so we just kind of take what we have and we’ll use it up,” says Ramey.

Appointments are required, but referrals are not necessary.

SCH provides REGEN-COV™ to eligible patients at no cost.

Find out if Regen-COV™ is appropriate by completing an online questionnaire at www.st-claire.org/regen-cov, call 606.783.7539 to speak with an SCH representative, Monday – Friday from 8 AM to 6 PM, or ask a primary care provider about monoclonal antibody therapy at St. Claire HealthCare.