In response to the surge of COVID-19 cases, Ascension Sacred Heart is offering an investigational medical treatment in which monoclonal antibodies are given to patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
Patients who are already in the hospital or requiring oxygen because of COVID-19 infection are not eligible for the outpatient treatment.
Ascension Sacred Heart Bay, Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast and Ascension Sacred Gulf, through the Florida Department of Health, have received doses of REGEN-COV™ (casirivimab/imdevimab), an investigational monoclonal antibody for early treatment of mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. The drug combination is administered via a one-time intravenous infusion.
Casirivimab/Imdevimab has been granted an Emergency Usage Approval (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on research data. Clinical trials have shown monoclonal antibodies have likely benefit in preventing emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. The FDA has not given full approval of Casirivimab/Imdevimab.
Clinical trials have shown that patients who receive the antibody therapy have less severe symptoms from COVID-19 and recover sooner. The antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond effectively to the virus.
To be eligible for the outpatient treatment, individuals must have at least one condition that puts them at high risk for major complications or death from COVID-19. The high-risk categories include:
- Older age (for example 65 years and older)
- Obesity or being overweight
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment
- Cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure
- Chronic lung diseases
- Sickle cell disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Having a medical-related technological dependence (for example, tracheostomy,
- gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation – not related to COVID-19)
- Other medical conditions of factors that place patients at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19
"Timing is really important for this therapy. It is not approved for use in patients who are already so sick they need hospital care," said Dr. Estrellita Redmon, Chief Clinical Officer at Ascension Sacred Heart. "Rather, this is a treatment option for some high-risk patients that may keep them out of the hospital."
The antibody to neutralize the virus has to be given to patients in a narrow window of time – within 10 days of when they start showing symptoms, but before they're sick enough to be hospitalized. Ideally, the drug should be given within three days of a positive test for COVID-19.
Patients will be required to provide a copy of their COVID-19 test results. Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart Primary Care Offices in Bay, Gulf and Walton counties are able to perform rapid COVID-19 testing by appointment only. Click here to find the closest doctor to you. The infusions are available at each of the above mentioned facilities, by appointment only, while supplies of casirivimab/imdevimab remain available. We encourage you to speak with your doctor to see if this treatment is right for you.