Ascension St. Vincent’s, partners expand access to monoclonal antibody therapy

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 1:50 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2021 at 1:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Ascension St. Vincent’s is working together with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy.

Friday they announced the addition of a new treatment site.

For people who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness and have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, doctors said this mAb treatment may have an effect on reducing hospitalization and severe illness.

Ascension St. Vincent’s will be expanding access to the mAb treatment with a new location at Ascension St. Vincent’s East.

As part of this expansion, Ascension St. Vincent’s will be able to treat up to 200 patients per week. As of September 27, patients have been able to receive the mAb treatment at the Ascension St. Vincent’s East location with an appointment. To confirm eligibility for the treatment and to obtain an appointment, patients should contact their primary care physician, as a physician referral is required.

The one-time therapy, made up of synthetic proteins designed to mimic the body’s own immune response, may neutralize the virus and prevent symptoms from worsening.

The therapy has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for outpatient use for treatment of COVID-19.

“Alabama is experiencing high COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates,” said Chris Moore, Ascension St. Vincent’s chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. “Our ability to expand this treatment may help us keep the most vulnerable members of our community out of the hospital. For individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and are considered high risk, the mAb infusion may be a solution to reduce their risk for hospitalization and death.”

“Monoclonal antibody therapy available through this new treatment site, along with the federal funding that supports it, will help ensure more high-risk Alabamians receive the care they need to recover more quickly and may prevent them from being hospitalized,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama Department of Public Health, said. “Low vaccination rates and the Delta variant continue to be obstacles in our fight against COVID-19. The additional access provided by Ascension St. Vincent’s and HHS to this life-saving treatment is crucial in helping halt disease progression in these vulnerable patients.”

To be eligible for mAb treatment, patients must meet the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) definition of “high risk.” The FDA Emergency Use Authorization provides additional information on eligibility for mAb treatment. Treatment is offered regardless of immigration status, health insurance coverage, or ability to pay.

WBRC’s Josh Gauntt filed this report in September on monoclonal antibodies and the need in Alabama:

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