Billings Clinic treats first patients at Outpatient COVID-19 Infusion Unit
Allocations of Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Received from the State
Billings, MT— Billings Clinic received their first allocations of Bamlanivimab monoclonal antibody (mAb) and Casirivimab/Imdevimab treatment from the Montana Department of Health and Human services to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate illness who meet specific requirements.
This treatment is done by a one-time infusion at the Viral Triage Infusion Unit at the downtown Billings campus.
The treatment was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat non-hospitalized, high-risk patients in the acute phase of illness. There have been limited studies performed on the drugs to date. For a patient to receive monoclonal treatment, they must have a positive test result and have had the onset of symptoms within ten days. Billings Clinic is following FDA requirements in assessing how patients are prioritized for the treatment, which is still in limited supply.
For adults, monoclonal antibody treatment may be an option for patients:
- Age 65 or older
- With obesity, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
- With diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or a condition that weakens the immune system
- Who take medication that weakens the immune system
- Who are age 55 or older and have heart disease, high blood pressure, or a long-term lung disease
Pediatric patients age 12-17 years old are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
“Monoclonal treatment might offer a defense for vulnerable patients at risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. Neil Ku, Infectious Disease Specialist at Billings Clinic. “Advancing our knowledge and toolbox to fight this disease as we anticipate a vaccine is increasingly important as the number of cases continues to grow at an alarming rate.”
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses and are designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. Monoclonal antibodies may provide short-term protection from SARS-CoV-2 and have been shown in limited studies to reduce the need for emergency room care or hospitalization in some high-risk patients.
“Our teams have been working tirelessly to stand up the new infusion unit to be able to administer this new treatment,” said Dr. Michelle Pierson, Billings Clinic Interim Chief of Medicine. “With each new advancement, our organization is adapting and closely monitoring guidelines to ensure we can safely offer the latest treatment as quickly as possible.”
Eligible patients will be assessed for this therapy when contacted by Billings Clinic following a positive COVID-19 test or can contact their primary care provider or Healthline (406) 255-8400 or 800-252-1246) to schedule a Virtual Care visit if they have received a positive test within the last 10 days.