“Any treatment options that we have at all that can keep someone healthy and prevent them from getting very, very sick and even potentially pass away from COVID is a huge win,” Dr. Khalin Dendy, Internal Medicine Physician for Sanford Health said.
Within the past two weeks, several North Dakota hospitals have implemented treatment of the newly FDA-authorized experimental drug bamlanivimab, and doctors say they’re eager to see it put to work.
“The virus is shaped in a sphere with some spikes coming out of it and that’s the goal of this antibody is to work to bind those spikes and neutralize that virus,” Director of Pharmacy for Altru Health in Grand Forks, Erin Navarro said.
“We have not really had any good outpatient treatment until this and these two options allow us to give patients infusion in an outpatient setting within 10 days of symptom onset if they have higher risk features to worsen,” Dr. Dendy said.
The one-time treatment requires an hour of IV infusion, followed by an hour of observation before patients are sent on their way.
An emergency room physician says the treatment could help reduce the number of hospital beds currently occupied by hundreds of COVID patients.
“The goal is in my mind is to get these people treated and so they don’t have to get sent by ambulance, they don’t have to come and be admitted to the hospital, they don’t even have to come to the emergency room,” ER physician at CHI St. Alexius Health, Dr. Benji Kitagawa said.
Although there is optimism about the new treatment, doctors are making sure conversations with patients remain realistic.
“So they really understand that it’s really not a magic bullet, that there are still risks and having to understand the benefits versus the risks,” Dr. Kitagawa said.
Supply of the medication is being monitored, with new shipments coming in weekly.
- Local residents in Phase 1a or 1b for the COVID-19 vaccine can now pre-register online to get their shots.
- COVID-19 related deaths are up to 6,174 — that is 93 deaths in the last 24 hours, the second highest number of new deaths from the virus reported since the pandemic began. The highest number reported in a single day was 96 deaths back in September.
- Across the nation, the mass-vaccination sites are ready to roll. All that’s missing is the vaccine and that is causing an enormous amount of frustration, not to mention health risks, for many of our frontline health workers and society’s most vulnerable.
- The first case of the new COVID-19 variant, originally found in the United Kingdom last year, has been found in Virginia according to the Virginia Department of Health.
- Emerging variants of the coronavirus may be reason for the public to start wearing two masks, according to a top infectious disease expert at VCU Health.
- Aumauinuuese Puni survived a caught-on-video lightning strike in April of 2020 and COVID-19 this month.
- Minnesota health officials confirmed Monday that a mutation of COVID-19 from Brazil was found for the first time in the United Sates.
- Ballad Health officials said the spread of COVID-19 in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region is truly widespread at this point and that we have passed the point of identifying clusters in the region.
- During a press conference after signing an executive order designed to galvanize the economy and help factories, President Joe Biden shed light on a topic millions of Americans have been tracking – how the size of the stimulus check outlined in his COVID relief plan was chosen.
- At a press conference Monday, President Joe Biden said he believes anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by this spring.