RWJBarnabas Health has been at the forefront in the region and in the nation in offering monoclonal antibody therapy to patients with COVID-19.
Even better: It has had a tremendous success rate.
To date, RWJBarnabas Health’s 11 acute care hospitals have administered over 10,400 doses of the infusion treatment with a 96% success rate. Nearly 98% of patients treated with the therapy are able to recover at home.
The treatment utilizes laboratory-made proteins to bolster the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Bonamo, said the program is an example of how the system has had continual impact during the pandemic.
“As therapies and criteria for treatment have changed over time, RWJBarnabas Health’s program has expanded,” he said. “We continue to administer the therapy through an infusion to patients who test positive for COVID-19, as well as to those who have had a significant exposure to COVID-19 and are at high risk for progression to severe illness.”
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the treatment consists of manmade proteins coded from COVID-19 survivors’ genetic material that mimic the body’s ability to fight off infection. Designed for those at high risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, monoclonal antibodies strengthen recipients’ immune systems and ultimately hasten recovery, while alleviating symptoms and keeping infected individuals out of the hospital.
The process does not take long.
Administered through an IV, which generally takes about an hour, patients receive the treatment in one of the system’s Emergency Departments, are then observed for an hour, and recover at home with continued observation via virtual check-ins and telehealth appointments with hospital physicians.
To be candidates for treatment, patients must meet certain criteria, test positive for coronavirus, present within 10 days of symptom onset and not be sick enough to require oxygen or hospitalization.
RWJBarnabas Health Chief Pharmacy Officer Indu Lew said the treatment has become a vital weapon in the fight against COVID-19.
“As we continue administering the vaccine to individuals across New Jersey, it’s crucial that we’re also building and expanding treatment options at our facilities,” she said. “For our high-risk patients who test positive and for those that meet the criteria for prophylaxis, we need a safe and effective way to intervene before the virus becomes a potentially devastating health emergency for these individuals.”
To determine eligibility and treatment plans, it is suggested that patients contact their physician before coming to the Emergency Department for treatment.