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Essentia Health offers treatment for high-risk COVID-19 patients

Essentia Health offers a new combination monoclonal antibody treatment that includes both bamlanivimab and etesevimab that research shows to be more effective against COVID variants.

Essentia Health St. Joseph's Medical Center Exterior Dusk3.jpg
Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Essentia Health offers monoclonal antibody treatment for those with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 who are at high risk for severe complications and hospitalization.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins, which mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens found in viruses.

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The first monoclonal antibody to receive emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was bamlanivimab in November. Since that time, other monoclonal antibody treatments are also authorized for use.

Data from 4,600 patients in Minnesota showed bamlanivimab lowered hospitalization rates to 2.3%, compared to 10-15% for those who didn’t undergo the treatment. Preliminary data also showed as much as a 70% reduction in both hospitalizations and death in treated patients.


However, data from ongoing clinical trials indicate bamlanivimab alone is not effective against emerging COVID-19 variants. Thus, a new combination monoclonal antibody treatment, which includes both bamlanivimab and another drug called etesevimab, is now in use, including at Essentia. Research shows the treatment to be more effective against COVID-19 variants.

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Part of the treatment involves sending the patient home with a health-monitoring system to keep track of their progress. It monitors vitals and records them to track the patient’s recovery.

Essentia is accepting referrals from all medical providers within and outside of the Essentia system, and offering it to any patient who meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s eligibility requirements, including those patients who receive care from an outside health system. It must be given within 10 days of the start of symptoms and as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test.

Those who were tested at sites other than Essentia can contact their primary care provider for a referral, or call a toll-free hotline at 833-769-1524 to be screened. Health care providers can refer a patient by calling Essentia Health’s STAT Doc line.

The FDA states patients age 12 or older who are at “high risk” for severe complications and/or hospitalization are eligible for the treatment. Children must weigh at least 88 pounds.

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Qualified patients include those who have COVID-19, are within 10 days of beginning mild to moderate symptoms and meet at least one risk factor identified by the FDA.


For more information about the treatment and how the FDA defines “high risk,” visit https://bit.ly/2PrW0vV .

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