TAMPA, Fla — The first monoclonal antibody treatment to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida was distributed right in our backyard, according to Tampa General Hospital.
The treatment from Eli Lilly is a "first in class treatment" that allows physicians at USF Health and TGH to provide "protection" to those experiencing mild to moderate symptoms before they would require hospital care.
"This single-dose infusion-based treatment is provided on an outpatient basis and marks a dramatic shift in COVID-19 care," the hospital wrote.
So how does it work?
The hospital says it blocks the “spike protein” in the virus before it can enter human cells and cause illness. From there it neutralizes the virus and keeps it from spreading or getting worse, according to a press release.
Those who receive the treatment will sit through a one-hour infusion process and then need to be monitored for another hour to ensure there are no side effects before returning home to recover.
“Effective delivery of this treatment can be logistically complicated,” said Dr. Kami Kim, director of the Division Infectious Diseases and International Medicine at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
“Tampa General Hospital and USF Health were already actively conducting clinical trials on COVID-19 and had the team, location and infrastructure in place to identify and care for the patients who can benefit most from this treatment.”
Due to a limited supply, TGH says they are limiting who qualifies for the treatment to only "high-risk" patients.
There are currently 200,000 doses of the treatment available, and TGH has 50 of them. They are able to apply every Friday for more doses.
In addition to needing to be within 10 days of symptom onset, physicians require you to meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Age 65 or older
- Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
- Have diabetes
- Have chronic kidney disease
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 35
Eli Lilly and Company’s antibody therapeutic will be distributed as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, according to TGH.
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