EASTON — University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is operating a new Infusion Center at Shore Medical Center at Easton to provide monoclonal antibody treatment for certain individuals with COVID-19.
The treatment has been shown to reduce severe illness related to COVID-19 when administered within 10 days of symptoms’ onset. It will be offered in Easton to those older than 18 who have mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms and are at high risk for developing severe symptoms.
Monoclonal antibodies, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, are “laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens, such as viruses.” The FDA authorized the treatment for emergency use against COVID-19 on Feb. 9 of this year.
UM SRH is authorized by the Maryland Department of Health to administer the mAb treatment, and will do so for patients who have been referred for it by a physician or other provider. Patients likely to be eligible for monoclonal antibody infusion treatment include those who are age 65 or older and/or have certain chronic medical conditions.
All referrals for the treatment will be reviewed and evaluated by Dr. Rosa Mateo, the hospital’s infectious disease specialist. Dr. William Huffner, chief medical officer and senior vice president for medical affairs at UM SRH, said his team recommends referrals be made “as soon as possible – and definitely within seven days of symptom onset.”
Early treatment intervention allows “time for review and scheduling before the patient reaches the 10-day ‘time out’ for receiving the treatment,” Huffner said.
“Offering mAb treatment to patients is an important part of our plan to continue providing patients with the most appropriate and effective care, and also to alleviate additional strain on our hospitals,” Huffner said. “While there is continued focus on access to the COVID-19 vaccines for people in our communities, it is critical that we keep utilizing all available tools in our COVID-19 response.”
Health care providers and county health department officials throughout the five-county Mid-Shore region that UM SRH serves have been informed of the treatment availability, eligibility criteria and the referral process.
The hospital system said in a news release that individuals with COVID-19, or their caregivers, who are interested in seeking monoclonal antibody treatment should contact their primary or urgent care provider to request a referral.
The Infusion Center is located at 219 South Washington St., in the advanced medical tent building behind the Emergency Department. Only patients and Infusion Center staff are allowed inside the center.