Floyd is testing a new therapy to fight COVID-19 that could possibly keep patients with mild to moderate cases from needing hospitalization.

Bamlanivimab is an antibody that was designed to halt the virus’ ability to replicate inside the human body. The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for bamlanivimab earlier this month. The FDA uses its emergency use authority to allow unapproved medical products to treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases.

Preliminary results suggest bamlanivimab may cut hospitalization rates and emergency room visits for patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. It does not appear to be an effective therapy for more serious patients already hospitalized, according to the FDA.

Three outpatient candidates were administered the antibody Tuesday at Floyd Medical Center. There is no time estimate on when their condition might improve.

Any patient 65 or older who meets the following criteria is eligible to receive bamlanivimab:

  • Is not hospitalized
  • Has a mild to moderate case of COVID-19
  • Weighs 88 pounds or more
  • Started showing symptoms within 10 days of receiving the treatment
  • Does not require additional oxygen

Patients between the ages of 12 and 64 must also meet the above requirements while also exhibiting signs of any other serious conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, COPD, asthma or sickle cell anemia.

“This can save lives,” said Dr. Ken Jones, Floyd’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “We received 40 doses of bamlanivimab to use at this point and immediately began identifying patients to benefit from the medication. Floyd has committed to offering approved therapies such as convalescent plasma and remdesivir as soon as approved for public use.”

The most common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, itching and headaches, although serious and unexpected reactions to the drug are possible.

Patients who might benefit from the intravenous infusions will be referred by Floyd Primary Care or Floyd Urgent Care providers.