AdventHealth opens monoclonal-antibody infusion clinics

AdventHealth is now offering the same COVID-19 treatment President Trump received in October after he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

The hospital system announced Tuesday that it has opened a clinic offering monoclonal antibody therapies on the campus of AdventHealth Orlando.

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that mimic the body immune system’s ability to fight the virus.

AdventHealth said the 11-chair outpatient infusion unit is treating patients with the antibody cocktail commonly known as Regeneron, which is a combination therapy of monoclonal antibody treatments casirivimab and imdevimab. Patients can also be treated with the monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab.

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The Federal Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for Regeneron over the weekend. AdventHealth said data from the clinical trials shows the therapy can reduce hospitalization or ER visits in patients at high-risk for developing a more severe case of COVID-19.

To qualify for the treatment, AdventHealth said adults need to be at high-risk for progressing to a more severe case of COVID-19 and also have high-risk factors like diabetes or heart disease. The hospital system also said the therapies are intended for who have developed COVID-19 symptoms within the past 10 days and are not hospitalized or on oxygen.

Qualified children 12-17 years old will also be able to receive the treatment at AdventHealth for Children.

University of South Florida Infectious Disease Research Thomas Unnasch said data from the clinical trials shows the therapy is most effective when it is administered to a patient early after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

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"All the antibodies your body is producing, it has picked out the one that actually stops the virus from going into the cells, so that's what Regeneron has done," Unnasch said.

 "We are encouraged by early results of this treatment and pleased to offer it to patients in Central Florida," said Dr. Michael Cacciatorem chief medical officer of AdventHealth Medical Group in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. "This important option will help keep COVID patients out of the hospital, allow them to recover in the convenience of their home, and ultimately – save lives. I encourage physicians and qualified patients in our community to take advantage of this pioneering treatment."

AdventHealth said it plans on opening more infusion clinics across Central Florida. AdventHealth Fish Memorial in Orange City and AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares are expected to open infusion clinics in January.