Alexandria, Louisiana - As one of the first in Louisiana to administer, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System announced patients now have access to a monoclonal antibody therapy for treatment of mild-to-moderate SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). CHRISTUS Community Clinic has REGN-COV2 stocked and will start administering treatment Tuesday for COVID-19 positive patients who are at greater risk for hospitalization.
"This treatment can be life-saving to those who are most vulnerable to severe illness. Used as one of the treatments given to President Trump, he credited it for his speedy recovery from COVID-19. I am elated CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini will serve the community in this capacity by providing this treatment,” said Jose M. Zapatero, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System.
The emergency use of monoclonal antibodies was recently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 infection. These antibodies are proteins created in a lab that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus.
Early results in clinical trials indicate monoclonal antibody therapy is beneficial when given early, before a patient’s immune system has mounted an antibody response. This means it is important for people to be evaluated by their physician or at an Urgent Care clinic at the first sign of symptoms.
The majority of people testing positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. The current supply is reserved for patients who are at increased risk for severe illness. Patients with at least three of the following underlying medical conditions qualify for the monoclonal antibody treatment: Coronary Artery Disease, Atrial Fibrillation, Congestive Heart Failure, Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 or 2, Acute Kidney Injury, Chronic Kidney Disease Stages 3 - 5, end-stage Renal Disease, or Morbid Obesity with a BMI > 40.
“The high-risk patient will complete blood work to check for the antibodies and a nasal swab to check for presence of the virus. If they do not have antibodies and the PCR test is positive, then they qualify for the monoclonal antibodies,” said Dr. Zapatero.
For high-risk COVID-19 positive patients being treated outside of CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System, providers can order the antibody test be done at the Cabrini Outpatient Lab. If the test is negative, the patient’s history and test results should then be provided to CHRISTUS Community Clinic. The monoclonal antibody therapy must be administered within 24 hours of obtaining the antibody test. It requires an intravenous infusion and monitoring after the procedure. Patients should expect the process to take up to eight hours. Modifications are expected to treatment criteria as information continues to evolve.
CHRISTUS Community Clinic is located at 3000 South MacArthur Drive.