As hospitals across New York state diligently distribute COVID-19 vaccinations, expanding effective treatment for current coronavirus patients remains a key priority. On Dec. 3, Samaritan Hospital – Albany Memorial Campus (a member of St. Peter’s Health Partners) became the first healthcare institution in New York’s Capital Region to offer monoclonal antibody therapy, an FDA-authorized treatment for COVID-19.
Shortly after the FDA granted emergency use authorization status to the medication, SPHP quickly established a clinic solely devoted to the administration of the drugs. The monoclonal antibody infusion clinic is located on the Samaritan Hospital – Albany Memorial Campus, and is now being offered to eligible COVID-19-positive residents of its skilled nursing facilities, allowing residents to receive the potentially life-saving treatment without having to leave the comfort of their own facility.
Melissa Fiorini, MD, emergency medicine and critical care physician, SPHP, oversees the clinic and has been a driving force in enabling its expansion. This effort has also included coordinating care for uninsured or homeless patients, not only arranging treatment for them but also temporary housing. Being able to expand infusions to several SPHP skilled nursing facilities is another important component to caring for those most vulnerable in the community.
Treatment involves the intravenous administration of bamlanivimab or the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab. So far, research has shown that in certain people, these new drugs 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 that showed that monoclonal antibody treatment may decrease emergency department visits or hospitalizations. Only those patients who are eligible and have a referral from their physician can qualify to receive this treatment.
SPHP’s monoclonal antibody infusion clinic has treated more than 500 patients since its inception — one-quarter of those have been from a nursing home. SPHP continues to offer the treatment not only at the clinic, but at several of SPHP’s skilled nursing facilities as well.
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