Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) is very proud of its efforts with Outpatient Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. These antibodies, which target the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, are designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. In layman’s terms, the role of monoclonal antibodies is to neutralize the virus.
The reason to administer the monoclonal antibody is to reduce hospitalizations. Antibodies are given in an outpatient setting to those who have tested positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms, but are at high risk for severe outcomes.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved emergency authorization for monoclonal antibodies because it offers health care providers another tool in combating the pandemic (Coronavirus Update 2020). The FDA permitted antibodies for people age 55 and above, as well as 12 to 17 year olds who do not yet have symptoms that require hospitalization, but may be at risk for admission because of conditions that make them susceptible to severe harm from COVID-19. Those conditions include various respiratory ailments, obesity, chronic kidney disease, immunosuppressive disease, and heart disease.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Rosenburg, Chief Medical Officer for SNMH, “The extraordinary efforts of Chief Hospitalist Dr. Nathan Claydon, and Lauren Swinney, RN have enabled SNMH to offer a great treatment option for patients in our community. Many other hospitals have tried, but despite the complexity of the process development and commitment of time needed, Claydon and Swinney were successful in offering this very valuable treatment option to residents that meet the requirements.”
Dr. Rosenburg continued, “It really was a team effort to make this work within the hospital. In addition to the efforts of the medical and clinical staff, the Director of Patient Registration, Megan Krumpe, and the Director of Plant Operations, Sue Urban also played key roles.”
There are two monoclonal antibody products available at the hospital. Bamlanivimab (known as Bam) and Regeneron. To date, SNMH has administered 36 doses of Bam and 45 of Regeneron for a total of 81. This is exceptional because only one individual ended up needing hospitalization and only one more needed to return to the emergency department. The first pediatric dose for a 14 year old was given last week.
Antibodies must be given into a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion. They may only be administered in settings where health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat any reactions, where emergency medical systems are available, and where emergency personnel are available if needed.
So, how effective is Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Therapy? Nationally, clinical trials of outpatients who received either therapy indicated only 3% were subsequently admitted to a hospital or visited an emergency departments compared with nine to 10% among those treated with placebos. This is one example of how SNMH has successfully kept COVID-19 hospitalizations down in our community.
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