Experimental COVID-19 antibody treatments underway in Knoxville

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The treatment believed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in a patient's body

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With a surge in COVID-19 cases expected and hospital capacity shrinking, East Tennessee health care providers are administering an experimental coronavirus antibody treatment believed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in a patient’s body.

Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody therapy, according to a joint press release by the coalition of hospitals, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Covenant Health and Tennova Healthcare.

The treatment is being administered on an outpatient basis to people who met specific criteria to receive it.

“The therapy is only meant for patients who don’t yet have advanced symptoms of COVID‐19, but who could develop such symptoms if the virus were allowed to progress. Patients who are already hospitalized cannot receive the drug, as it has not been shown to benefit them. It is also not for children under the age of 12.

“Our health systems are following community‐wide treatment guidelines which are as follows:

  • Patient must have a positive test for COVID‐19 (either antigen, PCR or molecular test).
  • Patient must not be hospitalized.
  • Patient must not have a new oxygen requirement or an increase in oxygen requirement above their baseline.
  • Patient must be within seven days of symptom onset.
  • Patient must be aged 65 or older OR have a BMI of 35 or greater.

“Our area health systems continue to work together on multiple fronts as a community to combat COVID‐19 with the goal of helping our patients recover and have the best possible outcome.”

The coalition also reminded the community to work together to minimize the spread of COVID‐19 by following the five core actions recommended by the Knox County Health Department and health systems:

  • Practice physical distancing (stay six feet apart and limit social gatherings).
  • Wear cloth face coverings.
  • Practice proper handwashing.
  • Clean/sanitize surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

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