LRH Receives Drug to Prevent COVID-19 Hospitalizations

A new therapy intended to prevent COVID-19 symptoms from worsening and keep patients from needing hospitalization is now in use at Lakeland Regional Health.

The hospital has received an initial allotment of 140 doses of bamlanivimab and administered it for the first time Thursday to three patients, spokeswoman Jennifer Audette said.

LRH is one of the first health systems in Florida offering the monoclonal antibody treatment, Chief Medical Officer Timothy J. Regan said. “This new COVID-19 drug therapy has great promise,” he said.

Eli Lilly and Co. received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month to distribute bamlanivimab for use in adult and adolescent patients experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. Criteria for administering the therapy can be found here.

The federal government announced the purchase of 300,000 doses, saying it would help bridge the gap before coronavirus vaccines become available.

The therapy is currently offered in LRH’s emergency department and will soon be available at its urgent care locations, Audette said. It is designed for use in a clinical setting and involves an intravenous infusion that takes about an hour to administer followed by an hour of observation.

The therapy is time sensitive and should be administered within 10 days of symptoms appearing, according to health officials.

Each state’s allotment of the therapy is determined by the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations. Florida was allotted 3,890 doses last week and 1,730 doses this week, according to a federal dashboard.

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