PeaceHealth announced Monday that it has begun offering monoclonal antibody therapy to patients considered at risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
The Vancouver-based health care provider said the treatment will initially be provided at PeaceHealth Memorial Urgent Care at 3400 Main St. in Vancouver. It stressed that patients must have a referral from a provider to be eligible for treatment.
Monoclonal antibodies are immune, lab-produced molecules designed to mimic the body’s natural response to infection, according to a statement from PeaceHealth. It’s a form of immunotherapy that has been used for patients with cancer and has proven effective helping patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 but are at a high risk of complications, including patients infected with the delta variant.
“Monoclonal antibody therapy has been proven to reduce hospitalizations in about 70 percent of high-risk, COVID-positive patients,” PeaceHealth Medical Group Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shaun Harper said in the statement. “The goal of the treatment is to prevent hospitalizations, reduce viral loads and lessen symptom severity.”
PeaceHealth is using the combo drug therapy REGEN-COV (Carsirivimab/Imdevimab) for its treatment. Patients receive the antibodies through a 20-minute intravenous infusion followed by an hour of observation.
Monoclonal antibody therapy received Emergency Use Authorization from the Federal Drug Administration in November 2020 for certain groups of non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Harper cautioned that the treatment is not a cure and provides no longterm immunity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“The best protection against COVID-19 continues to be immunization with our safe and effective vaccines,” he said.
Monoclonal antibody treatment may be appropriate for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms or those with known contact to COVID-19 and a high risk of developing serious complications. It may be given to anyone age 12 or over who also meets at least one of the following criteria:
- 65 years of age or older
- Cardiovascular disease, including congenital heart disease, or hypertension
- Chronic lung disease, including COPD, moderate to severe asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension
- BMI above 25 or, if age 12-17, a BMI greater than 85th percentile for age and gender based on CDC growth charts
- Chronic kidney disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Receiving immunosuppressive treatment or have an immunosuppressive disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy, or other conditions that confer medical complexity (for example, genetic or metabolic syndromes and severe congenital abnormalities)
- Medical-related technological dependence, such as tracheostomy, gastrostomy or positive pressure ventilation