ASHLAND, Ore. — Asante announced on Wednesday that it is now offering monoclonal antibody treatment for coronavirus patients following emergency use approval of the experimental treatments by the FDA.
“The treatment can have a significant impact on the severity of symptoms people experience as well as help reduce the need for more intense hospital-related interventions,” said Lee Shapley, MD, administrator at Asante Ashland Community Hospital. “By treating people at the early onset of their COVID diagnosis, this therapy can help people recover faster with fewer lingering effects of the disease and keep more people out of the hospital.”
Asante says that it is one of four healthcare providers in Oregon currently offering the potentially life-saving treatment for COVID-19 patients. It is specifically being made available at Asante Ashland Comunity Hospital, where community donations to the Asante Foundation helped to fund the necessary equipment for an infusion center.
Offered under this approval are two monoclonal antibody treatments, the Eli Lilly-produced bamlanivimab, and a Regeneron therapeutic cocktail containing both casirivimab and imdevimab.
However, the option is available only for people newly diagnosed with COVID-19 who meet certain medical criteria stipulated by the FDA — making up about 12 percent of people with mild to moderate symptoms of the virus.
These drugs are given through intravenous infusion to people with an early diagnosis of COVID-19 who are in a high-risk category, including people with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive disease, or those with a body mass index over 35.
“People diagnosed with COVID need to ask their doctor right away if they’re a candidate for monoclonal antibody treatment,” said Dr. Shapley. “It’s important to start treatment immediately after a diagnosis for the best outcome.”
Usually the treatment lasts about an hour, followed by an hour of observation.
“Asante is following recommendations from the FDA to provide the highest quality care and meet the highest safety standards possible for this therapy,” said Kristi Blackhurst, vice president of Operations at Asante Ashland and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. “Treatment can be considered for any person in Asante’s nine-county service area in Southern Oregon and Northern California who has a referral from their doctor.”