CLINTON, Md. – Today, MedStar Health opens an outpatient infusion center for the treatment of COVID-19, one of only seven such facilities statewide, on the campus of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. By providing monoclonal antibody infusions, this center will help people with COVID-19 stay out of the hospital while they recover, reducing the disease’s devastating toll in the region and across the state.
The center will be administering the monoclonal antibody infusions. The specific medication (bamlanivimab) was the first to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. It works by binding to the spikes that are on the surface of the SARS COV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, and stopping the virus from being able to attach itself to cells within the body. In early studies, monoclonal antibodies have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization for people with COVID-19, and it may also reduce the duration of COVID-19 symptoms.
“This infusion center is great news for our area. It gives us the opportunity to have a treatment available in this region that can help people with COVID-19 get better,” said Karla Evans, RPh, MedStar Southern Maryland’s director of pharmacy. “Having this treatment option available also helps keep our inpatient beds open for sicker patients who need hospitalization.”
Patients need a referral from a physician to receive the treatment, which consists of a one-hour infusion, followed by one hour of monitoring at the infusion center. The treatment is appropriate for COVID-19 positive patients with mild to moderate symptoms who are at high risk of developing complications. The drug must be given within 10 days of the start of symptoms.
The COVID-19 infusion center is located in the Lakeside Building on Hospital Drive. The center offers four treatment rooms, and all appropriate physical distancing measures and safety precautions are in place to keep patients and staff safe. The center has additional capacity and can expand should more treatment space be needed.
“Today, we are proud to offer convenient access to this effective treatment for Maryland’s southern region,” said Christine Wray, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “Our hospital is committed to caring for our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and this infusion center is a key way to get treatment to people who need it, keeping them out of the hospital.”