Wright Center for Community Health Offering Powerful Infusion Therapy to Help COVID-Positive Patients
Scranton, Pa. (Feb. 10, 2021) – Patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have a new treatment option available that may help them avoid a stay in the hospital. The Wright Center for Community Health is the first in Scranton to offer an outpatient infusion clinic for administering Bamlanivimab, or BAM, a monoclonal antibody.
“These monoclonal antibodies are the unsung heroes when it comes to the fight against COVID-19,” said Jignesh Sheth, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for The Wright Center, who is leading the delivery and administration of the drug. “There’s strong evidence that it stops people from going to the hospital and that patients recover faster with fewer complications.”
BAM was first introduced at the Wright Center’s Scranton location two weeks ago with close to 40 COVID-positive patients treated thus far. None of those patients treated ended up in the hospital with one 61-year-old COVID-19 patient, described as “very ill,” coming in for treatment on a Friday and by that Sunday, was able to walk four miles.
The Wright Center is offering the treatment to people 65 and older within 10 days of a positive COVID-19 PCR test or onset of symptoms, and to younger patients, 12 and over, at higher risk. People hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 are not eligible to receive the treatment.
The monoclonal antibodies found in BAM, which was granted emergency-use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, are laboratory-created proteins that replicate the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens, like COVID-19. The medicine targets the virus in a confirmed-positive patient and aims to prevent their body from having a damaging, or even life-threatening, inflammatory reaction.
Who is Eligible for the COVID-19 Infusion Clinic?
- Must be 12 years of age and older
- Must have tested COVID-19 positive via PCR nasal swab
- Must be outpatient only; not available for hospitalized individuals
- Must not require oxygen as a result of COVID-19 symptoms
- Must be considered a patient with underlying medical conditions considered high-risk for developing complications, which includes those 65 and older
BAM is administered as a one-time infusion over one hour. Patients are asked to remain at The Wright Center’s infusion clinic for roughly one hour after treatment to monitor for any side effects. BAM is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, who require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, or who require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19 in patients who are on chronic oxygen therapy due to underlying non-COVID-19-related conditions.