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Antibody treatment for high-risk COVID patients available in Las Vegas

Posted at 5:59 AM, Feb 18, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A COVID-19 treatment for high-risk patients, authorized for emergency use by the FDA, is now available in the Las Vegas valley.

It’s the same antibody cocktail that was given to former President Donald Trump, but now it’s more widely available for public use.

The medication is called Bamlanivimab. Doctors say the treatment is meant to give a boost to the immune system to prevent COVID-19 patients from ever needing to go to the hospital.

According to Southwest Medical, the Rancho Urgent Care on 888 S. Rancho Drive, is the only COVID Care Unit in Southern Nevada offering this particular treatment.

Doctors say the Bamlanivimab treatment takes about three hours.

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Las Vegas native Rick McGough tested positive while battling cancer. He says he was put on the fast track to receive the antibody treatment and has since fully recovered from the coronavirus.

“I think it aided quite a bit in lessening the impact of COVID, I more or less felt like I had a sinus infection in the chest, maybe bronchitis,” McGough said.

According to the FDA:

  • This EUA is for the use of the unapproved product Bamlanivimab for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization
  • High risk is defined as patients who meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35
    • Have chronic kidney disease
    • Have diabetes
    • Have immunosuppressive disease
    • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
    • Are older than 65 years of age
    • Are older than 55 years of age AND have
      • cardiovascular disease, OR
      • hypertension, OR
      • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory diseases.
    • Are 12 – 17 years of age AND have
      • BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts, OR
      • sickle cell disease, OR
      • congenital or acquired heart disease, OR
      • neurodevelopmental disorders, for example, cerebral palsy, OR
      • a medical-related technological dependence, for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19), OR
      • asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory diseases that requires daily medication for control.

Dr. Apeksha Desai with Southwest Medical says initially, the federal government thought the treatment would run short, but it started stockpiling because of delays for testing and infusion. That’s when it started partnering with companies like Southwest Medical and Optum Care to make it more widely available.

Dr. Desia says those interested in treatment should also consult their doctor to determine if they are eligible.