Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) administered the hospital’s first monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment to a COVID-19-positive patient Jan. 26. The intravenous infusion is
Bamlanivimab is approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 years or older with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19.
“The treatment is infused via IV, and [is designed] to decrease or slow down the replication of the virus in the patient,” said Lt. Cmdr. Raben Talvo, NMCSD’s Office of Clinical Quality department head. “We’re preventing the patient’s symptoms from getting worse, thus lessening the strain on our healthcare facility.”
Talvo, a registered nurse, administered the mAb treatment and adhered to the FDA’s high-risk patient guidelines.
“[The treatment] is a one time, one hour infusion plus one hour of observation,” said Talvo. “It’s key for us to identify potential patients who have not only tested positive for COVID-19, but have experienced an onset of symptoms within 10 days before we can offer this treatment. These potential patients would have had mild to moderate symptoms for 10 days or less, and this treatment is not for people who are currently admitted into a hospital due to their symptoms.”
Lt. Cmdr. Alison Lane, NMCSD’s Infectious Diseases division head, said the hospital offers the mAb treatment infusion to all eligible patients, but the decision to proceed is reached via an individualized, shared decision-making process with each patient.
“Getting the mAb treatment to the right patients at the right time to safely maximize potential benefits is logistically challenging,” said Lane.
Capt. Juliann Althoff, NMCSD’s chief medical officer with a background in preventative medicine and a public health physician by trade, said the mAb therapy is currently being administered through local health systems and other military training facilities.
“It’s given as an outpatient infusion with the goal of minimizing severe illness and hospitalizations,” said Althoff. “In addition to the public health essentials of physical distancing and mask-wearing, and the upcoming rollouts of vaccines, [mAb therapy] is an additional option we can now offer our beneficiaries.”
Lane echoed her colleagues’ thoughts that preventing hospital admissions for COVID-19 is not only beneficial to individual patients, but also reduces strain on this hospital and the healthcare system as a whole.
Article adapted from original story by Jacob L. Greenberg, Naval Medical Center San Diego