Spectrum Health offers antibody treatment for COVID-19

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Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital. Courtesy Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health West Michigan opened an infusion clinic at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital on Wednesday that uses monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19.

The infusion clinic at Blodgett Hospital, 1840 Wealthy St. SE, replaces a smaller clinic that has been operating since December at the Spectrum Health Medical Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Developed with expertise and input from the Spectrum Health infectious disease team, the new clinic will provide more space and scheduling opportunities for treatment.

“At a time when a treatment for COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, Spectrum Health is excited to provide monoclonal antibodies to treat patients,” said Dr. Gordana Simeunovic, M.D., Spectrum Health infectious disease expert. “The possibilities presented by these new treatments are encouraging. They are affordable, easy to administer and have been shown to have few side effects.”

The infusion treatment features Eli Lilly’s Bamlanivimab and Regeneron’s Casirivimab and Imdevimab combination. Neither of these antibodies has been approved, but they have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults and children 12 years of age and older who are in the early stages of COVID-19 and are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

Bamlanivimab also is being used at Spectrum Health Lakeland to treat COVID-19 patients as part of its COVID-19 medication therapies program.

The infusion process is approximately three hours. Monoclonal antibody (MAB) treatment is given one time through a vein for at least one hour.

Simeunovic noted, for those who have questions about prioritizing between monoclonal antibodies and the COVID-19 vaccine, that they are used for different purposes.

“Monoclonal antibodies are given as treatment to already ill patients, while the vaccine is given to healthy people to prevent infection,” she said. “Treatment with MAB does not prevent you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC simply recommends waiting 90 days after you receive MAB to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

To be considered for MAB treatment, patients must be 12 years of age or older and meet the following initial criteria:

  • Positive COVID-19 test
  • COVID-19-related symptoms have been present for less than 10 days
  • Patient is not hospitalized
  • One or more of the following risk factors for disease progression: significant immunosuppression, morbid obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease or being age 65 and older

Anyone who meets the criteria can contact the COVID-19 infusion clinic for possible treatment at (616) 391-0351 or covid19research@spectrumhealth.org.

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