STOCKBRIDGE – Piedmont Henry Hospital recently opened one of the state’s first infusion centers to administer bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment for high-risk patients diagnosed with COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization and oxygen therapy.
The infusion center, located on the hospital’s campus, provided treatments for 13 patients ranging in age from 34 to 92 and coming from areas all over metro Atlanta, over the first two days of operation.
Piedmont Healthcare is now running four bamlanivimab infusion centers across Georgia.
“We’re so pleased that we can provide this treatment for patients in need and help them avoid hospitalization and further complications due to COVID-19,” said Lily Henson, M.D., CEO of Piedmont Henry. “Our team has done an excellent job getting this center ready for patients in a short amount of time.”
Bamlanivimab, which received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 9, mimics a person’s immune system response to viruses and blocks the COVID-19 virus from entering and attaching to cells, according to Piedmont Henry officials. The FDA says that “while the safety and effectiveness of this investigational therapy continues to be evaluated, bamlanivimab was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19 related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo.”
Patients need to be referred to the infusion center by their physician within the first 10 days of having symptoms of COVID-19. Patients receive a one-hour infusion of the treatment and then are observed for an hour. Patients have reported positive outcomes within 48 hours of the treatment. The hospital will also start offering the treatment within the emergency department for patients who meet the criteria.
“It’s important to stress that this treatment is for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at a high-risk for hospitalization and potential complications,” Henson said. “For most members of the community, it is important to remember to follow the 3 W’s: Wear a mask, Watch your distance, and Wash your hands; and get the vaccine when it is available.”
To learn more about Piedmont’s COVID-19 response, visit www.piedmont.org/covid19.