Genesis begins antibody treatment for high-risk COVID-19 patients

Local News

Genesis Health System Hospital announced on Tuesday that they have begun administering the recently approved monoclonal antibody treatment known as Bamlanivimab for targeted, high- risk COVID-19-positive patients in Scott County and the surrounding areas. They began administering the doses on Friday, November 20.

“With the surge taking place in Iowa right now and being a national hotspot for COVID, the timing is good and this gives us a little more ammunition in our fight against the virus in our community,” said Kurt Andersen, M.D., Senior Vice President of Physician Operations and Chief Medical Officer. “This could reduce the need for hospital stays and trips to the emergency room — which could put less strain on our healthcare resources.”

On Nov. 9, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for the use of Bamlanivimab to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older, weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds), and who are at high-risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

In clinical trials, Bamlanivimab was shown to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients who presented a high probability of potential disease progression, according to the FDA.

Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy because of COVID-19 illness.

“I am proud of our team to get this clinic up and running so quickly, and the innovative care we are able to provide right here in our own community. However, the supply we have at this time is limited, so the number of doses we be determined by those who are at high-risk for severe disease and/or hospitalization. We anticipate that our supply will increase in the coming weeks as the company increases their production of the drug,” said Dr. Andersen.

Genesis Health Systems says high-risk factors include obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, respiratory disease or aged 65 years and older. Those comorbid conditions are listed in the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization.

Audrey Porter of East Moline was one of the first patients in the Quad Cities to receive Bamlanivimab by infusion. The 57-year-old found out last Friday she had tested positive for COVID-19 and received the infusion the same day.

“I have diabetes and high blood pressure so Dr. Dannenfeldt (Genesis Health Group physician John Dannenfeldt) thought it was something I should consider to hopefully lower my risk of getting worse,’’ Porter said. “My underlying conditions could have put me at higher-risk of hospitalization or worse illness. They are hoping this therapy lowers the risk of patients like me. I have never done anything like this but I thought I should try it.” 

Porter said she had no physical reaction to the therapy.

“It’s probably too early to say if it helped but I don’t feel worse than I did Friday,’’ Porter said.

The monoclonal antibody therapy Bamlanivimab can only be prescribed by a patient’s attending provider. The medicine is administered as an outpatient infusion procedure. It is a one-time infusion that takes about an hour. Treatment also requires a post-infusion observation period to treat any adverse reactions to the medication.

Genesis Health System has dedicated a COVID-19 Treatment Infusion Center located at 1414 West Lombard, Davenport, IA., 52804 with 10 patient infusion stations. Trained Genesis registered nurses will administer the transfusion to a limited number of pre-qualified patients who have tested positive within the previous three days, and for whom the risk of disease progression is high.

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