Hamilton has an expanding monoclonal antibody clinic for COVID-19 treatment

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Published January 20, 2022 at 10:28 am

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is providing patients with the ability to access monoclonal antibodies for the early treatment of COVID-19. The pilot program provides treatment for high-risk outpatients.

While health care providers stress that the first line of defense against the virus is vaccination, St. Joe’s says its Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Clinic at the Charlton campus will help to address the growing number of hospitalizations in high-risk individuals.

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“A monoclonal antibody is a type of protein that attaches to the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus and prevents the virus from entering and infecting healthy cells within the body,” says St. Joe’s. “This therapy may help reduce the risk of progressing from mild or moderate COVID-19 to severe infection that requires hospitalization for high-risk individuals.”

Initial studies show that COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy reduces hospitalization by 71 per cent and reduces death by 70 per cent in high-risk COVID-positive patients.

St. Joe’s was the first health care clinic in Ontario to offer monoclonal antibody treatment, beginning in Oct. 2021.

Dr. Zain Chagla, who is an infectious disease physician at St. Joe’s tweeted Wednesday (Jan. 19) that 225 doses of monoclonal antibodies had been administered. He added that more access to the antibody is coming and St. Joe’s hopes to see the standard for early treatment.

 

Dr. Chagla also made reference to Paxlovid, which is the antiviral oral medication developed by Pfizer. It has been greenlit for use by Health Canada.

Who is eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment at St Joe’s?

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms lasting seven days or less are eligible if they meet certain criteria.

St Joe’s says patients need to be able to drive directly to the Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Clinic and then directly home.

Unvaccinated individuals must either be over the age of 60 or over the age of 50 and have a severe medical disease or are a member of the Indigenous community.

Vaccinated individuals of any age are eligible for the treatment if they are immunosuppressed.

“While we strive to get everyone who is referred access, there may be circumstances where we cannot offer treatment due to clinic demands,” says St. Joe’s.

More information regarding the treatment and eligibility can be found online.

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