TidalHealth authorized to use new COVID-19 treatment

SALISBURY, Md. — Starting Tuesday, the TidalHealth health care system will become a regional referral site for the administration of a new type of COVID-19 treatment that drew attention when it was used to treat President Donald Trump.

Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody produced by Eli Lilly and Co., was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 9.

TidalHealth, which is based in Salisbury but includes TidalHealth Peninsula Regional hospital there, as well as TidalHealth Nanticoke hospital in Seaford, Delaware, is one of only six hospital systems in Maryland included in the first wave of facilities authorized to use the drug. TidalHealth is the first site on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

President Trump received a similar type of monoclonal antibody produced by Regeneron to treat his COVID-19 earlier this fall.

“Eli Lilly produced the monoclonal antibody we will start using (Tuesday). Regeneron produced the monoclonal antibody used for the president. It is quite similar, and we are also set to receive doses of the Regeneron version in upcoming weeks,” said Gwenn Garland, strategic communications coordinator for TidalHealth.

TidalHealth Nanticoke will begin providing the infusions next week — likely Dec. 7.

“As at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, it will be by physician referral for specific patients who meet the criteria,” said Ms. Garland.

Not every patient with a positive COVID-19 test will be eligible to receive the drug. Patients should be referred by their doctor, as it will only be given to those who are determined to be at high risk and are good candidates.

People who are already hospitalized cannot receive the drug, as it has not been shown to benefit these patients. It is also not for children under age 12.

“The drug isn’t for people who are already hospitalized — it is used for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and may be at risk for their case to become more severe because of other health factors, such as age, diabetes or a compromised immune system,” said Dr. John Jordan, senior director of pharmacy services for TidalHealth. “We are working hard to be able to bring this treatment to patients on the Delmarva Peninsula.”

Bamlanivimab should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test and within 10 days of symptom onset. It is administered via a single intravenous infusion.

The treatment is a lab-created protein that mimics immune system antibodies that block viruses. By blocking viral attachment and entry into human cells, it helps to neutralize the virus. This ability to limit viral replication makes it helpful for those at risk for developing severe symptoms.

Those wishing to learn more about bamlanivimab can visit www.fda.gov.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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