Brandywine Hospital – Tower Health is fortunate to have received doses of the recently approved COVID-19 drug bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody to treat individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. The drug, developed by Eli Lilly, was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for patients 12 years and older under “emergency use authorization.” This status allows new medications that have passed general safety tests and have preliminarily demonstrated effectiveness to advance to commercial distribution while Phase 3 studies are still ongoing. Brandywine Hospital began outpatient treatment for COVID-19 positive patients the week of February 9.
Bamlanivimab should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and within 10 days of symptom onset in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older who are at high risk for progressing to a severe case of COVID-19 or hospitalization.
Risk factors for these patients include:
- Body mass index (BMI) greater than 35
- Chronic kidney disease
- Immunosuppressive disease
- Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
- Older than 65 years
- Older than 55 years and have:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease of another chronic respiratory disease
- Are 12 to 17 years old and have:
- BMI greater than 85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts
- Sickle cell disease
- Congenital or acquired heart disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy
- A medical-related technological dependence - tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19)
- Asthma, reactive airway, or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication for control
The treatment, given as an infusion, will be administered in a recently converted unit on the ground floor of the hospital. This area was selected because patients will have access to a dedicated entrance that will take them directly to the unit, separating them from other patients.
In a phase II double-blind randomized controlled trial of 465 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalizations of patients who received bamlanivimab were 70 percent lower than for patients who received a placebo.
Michael Coveney, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, vice president and chief nursing officer at Brandywine Hospital – Tower Health, said, “We are excited that Brandywine Hospital will be able to provide this as another option to treat our patients while likely decreasing hospitalizations.”
The treatment is aimed at the COVID-19 “spike protein” (the mushroom-looking projection from the main body of the virus). Just as the antibodies made by an individual’s own immune system, this monoclonal antibody attaches to the virus, thereby both preventing the virus’ attachment to the patient’s cells, and “tagging” the virus for destruction by the patient’s own immune system.
About Brandywine Hospital
Located in Chester County, Pa., and a member of Tower Health, Brandywine Hospital is a nonprofit, 171-bed acute-care hospital with private rooms that has been providing high-quality, compassionate care in the community for more than 100 years. The hospital's key services include cardiology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, behavioral health (adult, older adult), general and robotic surgery, specialized care for eating disorders, and outpatient services (radiology/women's imaging, laboratory, cardio-pulmonary, occupational, physical and speech therapy, primary care, and wound care). Fully accredited by The Joint Commission, Brandywine Hospital is also the recipient of The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for excellence in hip replacement, knee replacement, stroke, and wound care. For more information, visit https://towerhealth.org/locations/brandywine-hospital.