NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Trident Health is using a new treatment option for some patients with COVID-19.
The infusion therapy uses the drug Bamlanivimab manufactured by Eli Lilly. A few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided emergency use authorization of the drug.
According to Dr. Lee Biggs, the Chief Medical Officer at Trident Health, Bamlanivimab is designed to treat individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, are within their first 10 days of the onset of symptoms, but do not require supplemental oxygen or hospitalization.
It’s designed to be an outpatient treatment that could reduce COVID-19 symptoms that otherwise could result in hospitalization.
Dr. Biggs says the process takes about three hours.
Out of thousands of doses procured by the government, South Carolina received 800 and the Trident Health system initially received 150 treatment doses.
Trident began treating patients on Monday, and by the end of Tuesday treated 12 patients. Dr. Biggs says it has been successful so far and patients leave feeling better than when they arrived.
“The treatment itself is rather straightforward,” explained Dr. Biggs. “An individual comes in, has an IV started and the drug is infused over one hour and then once the infusion is completed, the patient is monitored for one hour for any side effects.”
Side effects associated with the drug infusion are mild nausea, upset stomach, and potential diarrhea, but Dr. Biggs says the patients that have been treated so far have not reported any side effects.
Each week, hospital systems using the drug will catalog the patients they treat and send those numbers to the state. The state then sends additional doses of the drug back to the hospital system accordingly.