ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) is now offering monoclonal antibody therapy to eligible COVID-positive residents in their nursing facilities. This is an expansion of SPHP’s monoclonal antibody infusion clinic, which has already treated more than 450 patients in the Capital Region.

SPHP became the first health care institution in New York’s Capital Region to offer monoclonal antibody therapy, the only FDA-authorized treatment for COVID-19, when it opened a clinic at the Samaritan Hospital – Albany Memorial Campus on Dec. 3, 2020.

Melissa Fiorini, M.D., an emergency medicine and critical care physician at SPHP, oversees the clinic. From her experience, she has seen first-hand the benefits the treatment can have, especially for the elderly who are most at risk of hospitalization and severe illness.

“I have seen some patients who have battled persistently high fevers for days, who after receiving the treatment, had their fever disappear within 12 hours,” said Fiorini. “Some have even called it life-saving.”

Fiorini says she and her team have been working to offer the treatment to the “most vulnerable” in the community. This includes coordinating care for uninsured or homeless patients, meaning arranging treatment for them and also providing temporary housing.

Known as monoclonal antibody therapy, the treatment involves the intravenous administration of bamlanivimab or the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab. The drugs are designed to enhance the body’s natural immune response to the virus and must be given within 10 days from the first onset of symptoms.

Research so far has shown that in certain people, these new drugs, made by Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, may help symptoms improve sooner and might lessen the likelihood that they will need hospitalization. The drugs are currently authorized for emergency use by the FDA based on limited phase II study data which showed that monoclonal antibody treatment may decrease emergency department visits or hospitalizations.

Eligibility:

  • Must have a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test
  • At least 40 kg (about 88 pounds)
  • At high risk for hospitalization or severe COVID-19 illness

High risk defined as:

  • Over the age of 65
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35
  • Have diabetes
  • Have chronic renal disease
  • Have an immunosuppressive disease
  • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Are at least 55 years of age AND have cardiovascular disease, or hypertension, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease