With demand increasing, Tidelands Health expands monoclonal antibody treatment availability
In November 2020, Tidelands Health became one of the first health systems in South Carolina to offer monoclonal antibody treatment for high-risk COVID-19 patients. Now, the health system is expanding capacity to meet increased demand for the promising treatment amid the ongoing COVID-19 surge.
Additional infusion stations have been added to the dedicated Murrells Inlet clinic where monoclonal antibody treatment is administered on an outpatient basis, and workflows have been streamlined to allow more patients to receive the treatment each day.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19. To date, Tidelands Health has administered the treatment to more than 1,000 individuals.
“This treatment has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization among people who are at high risk of becoming seriously ill with the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health. “For some patients, it can be the difference between a mild course of illness and something far more severe.”
Monoclonal antibody treatment received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last year. To qualify for the treatment, an individual must be 12 or older with mild to moderate COVID-19 and at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization. Eligible patients must be referred by a health care provider.
The treatment, which should be administered within 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, consists of a one-time infusion in an outpatient setting. Patients are able to return home the same day.
“Our Tidelands Health team is committed to doing everything we can to protect our community from this deadly virus,” Dr. Harmon said. “If you haven’t already done so, please get vaccinated. And if you do test positive for COVID-19, talk with your doctor about monoclonal antibody treatment and whether it’s right for you.”