Sleepy Eye Medical Center is pleased to offer COVID-19 antibody therapy to patients who qualify. The therapy, known as Monoclonal Antibody Treatment, is available through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for non-hospitalized COVID-19 positive people.
Please see information in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below about this new therapy used to reduce the severity of illness and risk of death in eligible patients.
FAQ: Antibody Therapy for COVID-19 Patients
Monoclonal antibody treatment with bamlanivimab or casirivimab and imdevimab are for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms and are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
Antibodies are proteins that people’s bodies make to fight viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies made in a laboratory act a lot like natural antibodies to limit the amount of virus in your body. These are called monoclonal antibodies.
Antibody treatment can be used by people who have tested positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms and are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. In addition, patients must meet one or more of the following criteria to qualify:
- Over age 65
- Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 35
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage IV or greater (eGFR < 30)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Over age 55, plus one of the following: chronic respiratory disease or cardiovascular disease
A provider referral is required. SEMC accepts internal and external provider referrals. For questions about whether you can and should get antibody therapy, please call your doctor or health care provider.
Patients who do not qualify for antibody treatment include:
- Those on hospice or Do-Not-Hospitalize Status
- Those who have had COVID-19 previously
- Those whose symptoms began more than 7 days ago
- Those on a higher dose of oxygen than baseline or new to oxygen therapy
Antibodies must be administered through a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion. Each infusion takes approximately one hour, followed by an hour of observation.
Antibodies are administered in settings where health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat any reactions and where emergency medical systems are available, if needed. Sleepy Eye Medical Center offers therapy treatment in the hospital setting. In addition, we are pleased to offer treatment to residents within area nursing homes and long-term care facilities with prior facility authorization.
Clinical trials for bamlanivimab and for casirivimab/imdevimab have shown a decrease in hospitalizations and emergency room visits and a decrease in the amount of virus in an infected person's blood. Studies are still ongoing.
Clinical studies are ongoing to evaluate the safety of antibody treatment It is possible that not all risks are known yet. Because bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab are antibody treatments, they could get in the way of your body’s own immune response to future infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or they could affect your immune response to a vaccine for COVID-19.
The most common reported side effects with bamlanivimab are nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, itchiness, and vomiting. The most common reported side effects with casirivimab/imdevimab are nausea and vomiting, hyperglycemia, and pneumonia. The side effects of getting any medicine by vein may include brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, and possible infection at the infusion site.
We do not yet know how effective vaccines are in someone who has previously received an antibody treatment for a COVID-19 infection, or whether the antibody treatment could interfere with your body's own immune response to a vaccine. Once you have had COVID-19, you are very unlikely to be reinfected for three months afterward. Therefore, if you receive an antibody treatment, you should delay receiving a vaccine for three months as a precaution.
The state of Minnesota is working to ensure that any location that gives antibody treatment is considered in network and covered by insurance. More information on insurance coverage of antibody treatments can be found at CMS: Coverage of Monoclonal Antibody Products to Treat COVID-19 (PDF).