Tidelands Health offering ‘groundbreaking’ treatment for high-risk COVID patients

Tidelands Health receives new treatment to help reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Tidelands Health is offering a ‘groundbreaking’ COVID-19 treatment that may lessen a person’s risk of becoming hospitalized with the virus, the hospital system announced Monday.

“This is such a deadly disease and disheartening disease and it picks off the weakest folks,” said. Dr. Gerald Harmon, the health system’s vice president of medical affairs.

According to a press release, Tidelands Health is one of a dozen healthcare providers in the state to receive the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy, bamlanivimab.

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The antibody therapy received an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 9.

“Bamlanivimab can be used for the treatment of patients ages 12 and older with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization, including those 65 and older or those with certain chronic medical conditions,” the release stated.

Officials said bamlanivimab, which is administered intravenously as a single dose at a healthcare facility, has been shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in COVID-19 patients at high risk for the disease.

Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody specifically designed to block the COVID-19 virus’ attachment and entry into human cells, according to the release.

Officials said the antibody therapy isn’t intended for COVID-19 patients who are already hospitalized or require oxygen therapy.

“Our team of caregivers at Tidelands Health is proud to be among the first in the state to provide this promising treatment to high-risk COVID-19 patients,” said Harmon. “This gives us another tool as we continue to battle COVID-19 on multiple fronts and work continuously to help patients recover from this virus.”

Tidelands Health received 37 doses of the experimental drug.

Harmon said they administered the first dose to a COVID-19 patient last week.

The treatment may also help ease the burden for healthcare workers by keeping people out of the hospital.

Currently, Tidelands Health’s ICUs are at 100% capacity. There are 18 COVID-19 patients. Ten are patients in the ICU and six patients are on a ventilator.

Surprisingly, Harmon said they’re not overwhelmed, at least for now.

“That doesn’t mean we have room to spare and if we have an extra dozen COVID positive or influenza patients come in that would stretch us,” he said.

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