COVID-19 Infusion Therapy – Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Therapy for High-Risk COVID-19 Patients In Texas

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been several treatments that shined bright with promise initially, only not to be the game-changer healthcare providers had hoped for after wider roll out. Last fall though, one new treatment called monoclonal antibody therapy was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unlike some other highly anticipated therapies, it is largely delivering on its promise.

Over the past few months, monoclonal antibodies have been effective in preventing thousands of high-risk patients from developing more severe symptoms due to COVID-19. Developed in laboratories, monoclonal antibodies act like the naturally occurring antibodies the immune system creates to help eliminate the amount of virus in the body.

As with many new treatments in high demand, monoclonal antibodies initially were only available through hospitals who received a limited allocation. They are now more widely accessible to patients who qualify, via outpatient infusion therapy locations.

Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Therapy For A High Risk COVID-19 Patient In Texas

How do I Know if I Qualify for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy?

“Every patient with COVID is different,” says Jeff Erdner, DO, a physician and chief operating officer of The Emergency Center. “We know monoclonal antibodies work but may work differently in different people.”
He is quick to caution that monoclonal antibodies are by no means a cure for all cases of COVID-19. “We’ve seen a lot of success, but not everyone [is a candidate for outpatient monoclonal antibody infusion therapy],” he says. To receive the therapy, COVID-19 patients must meet specific criteria issued by the FDA. These include patients:

  • With mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms
  • With a blood oxygen level more than 90% (as measured by a care provider)
  • Who have been experiencing symptoms less than 10 days
  • Who have a positive COVID-19 test
  • Who don’t need to be hospitalized (can return home after treatment)

COVID-19 patients also must be at high risk of having their illness progress to become more serious. High risk includes anyone over age 65, as well as patients with certain chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, or who have a condition or are receiving a treatment that may compromise their immune system.

“Patient who are 55 and older also may qualify if they have certain conditions like heart disease, hypertension or chronic lung disease,” explains Dr. Erdner.

How The Emergency Center Can Help COVID-19 Outpatients

Monoclonal antibodies are an outpatient IV therapy, meaning that outside of the hospital setting, they can be administered by infusion centers located in the community. However, patients first must be qualified by a physician—which includes having a positive COVID-19 test and physician’s order—to receive treatment.

“We can qualify patients and coordinate an appointment with the infusion center,” says Dr. Erdner. “Our physicians will write the order and the patient can get their infusion as soon as later that day—or a day or two after.” The idea is to get the therapy as soon as possible once it has been determined to be the best course of action.

  • Infusion centers have staff trained in administering monoclonal antibody therapy through an IV.
  • The therapy itself takes about an hour to administer, but the check-in, set-up, infusion and monitoring for side effects may take a few hours.
  • Infusions utilize monoclonal antibody treatments including Bamlanvimab or the Regeron cocktail (Casiribimab and Imdevimab).
  • Very few serious reactions have been reported with monoclonal antibody therapy.
  • The therapy is generally covered by health plans.
  • Patients should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine for 90 days after getting monoclonal antibodies.

In the spring of 2020, not much could be done about a COVID-19 diagnosis except hope for the best. Today, for many of the most vulnerable patients, monoclonal antibodies are that hope. The Emergency Center physicians can assist with physician orders to coordinate an appointment with an infusion center, for our emergency patients who meet FDA criteria.

Enjoy life. We’ll be here for the bumps along the way.


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The Emergency Center

San Antonio
11320 Alamo Ranch Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78253

Phone: 210-485-3644