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Published on August 31, 2021

Addition of Bamlanivimab gives Owensboro Health a new tool to treat COVID-19

Therapy could prevent hospitalizations in mild and moderate cases

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital recently added Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody therapy, as a potential treatment option for some patients with mild and moderate cases of COVID-19. Authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 10, the new therapy may help patients who meet particular criteria to slow the progression of COVID-19 and possibly avoid hospitalization, one study suggests. Bamlanivimab has not been formally approved by the FDA; however the known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.

Bamlanivimab is administered to qualifying patients through infusion therapy, a form of therapy that delivers medication directly into the veins via a sterile catheter. The treatment is a one-time outpatient procedure that takes about an hour to perform; an additional hour of observation is also required. Bamlanivimab is designed to be administered as quickly as possible following the onset of a patient’s symptoms, according to FDA guidelines.

“As a regional leader in the fight against COVID-19, we are committed to giving Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana every possible tool to treat this disease and mitigate its effects on patients,” said Debbie Bostic, chief operating officer for Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. “The availability of Bamlanivimab gives providers another treatment option that might help some patients avoid hospitalization.”

The FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, and specifications issued by the drug manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, permit the use of Bamlanivimab only for adult and pediatric patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing and who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and possible hospitalization. Patients must be at least 12 years of age, weigh at least 40kg (88.1lb), and have an additional risk factor such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease. The drug is not authorized for patients who are already hospitalized or undergoing oxygen therapy, either for COVID-19 or other medical conditions.

“Bamlanivimab is designed to help the body’s immune system block the coronavirus from binding to our cells and replicating, which may decrease the viral load and lead to less progression of the disease,” said Michael Kelley, MD, vice president of medical affairs for Owensboro Health. “Although studies are ongoing, early research reviewed by the FDA suggested that the drug may have prevented hospitalizations when compared to the control group.”

An FDA fact sheet says that two of the 850 clinical trial participants have experienced serious reactions to the drug or the infusion, requiring treatment to be stopped. Nausea, diarrhea and headache were among the most common side effects that have been reported during the trial.

Contact your primary care provider to see if you are eligible for a monoclonal antibody infusion. If you do not have a primary care provider, please contact the Owensboro Health Family Medicine Residency clinic at 270-688-2077.

Contact: Somer Wilhite, Owensboro Health Marketing & Public Relations, (O) 270-685-7103, (C) 270-779-6970, Somer.Wilhite@OwensboroHealth.org.

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.