Mercy Urgent Care is pleased to announce it now offers monoclonal antibody infusion to high-risk patients with COVID-19. The infusions will be administered at the Mercy Urgent Care West Asheville location, 1201 Patton Avenue, beginning May 3.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. It’s used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized people who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or the need for hospitalization. It is used for high-risk patients ages 12 and up, but Mercy Urgent Care will only provide infusions to ages 18 and older at this time.
Who qualifies? Patients within 10 days of symptom onset, 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.
The following medical conditions or other factors may place patients at higher risk for progressing to severe COVID-19:
- Older age (for example, age ≥65 years of age)
- Obesity or being overweight (for example, BMI >25)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment
- Cardiovascular disease (including congenital heart disease) or hypertension
- Chronic lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma [moderate-to-severe], interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension)
- Sickle cell disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders (for example, cerebral palsy) or other conditions that confer medical complexity (for example, genetic or metabolic syndromes and severe congenital anomalies)
- Having a medical-related technological dependence (for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID 19)) Other medical conditions or factors (for example, race or ethnicity) may also place individual patients at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and authorization of REGEN-COV under the EUA is not limited to the medical conditions or factors listed above.
For additional information on medical conditions and factors associated with increased risk for progressing to severe COVID-19, see the CDC website. Healthcare providers should consider the benefit-risk for an individual patient.
Mercy Urgent Care is one of few providers in Western North Carolina that is currently providing monoclonal antibody infusions. Patients may request or receive a referral for the treatment, to be administered at Mercy Urgent Care West Asheville, from their regular health care providers. Patients will then be contacted to screen for and schedule the infusion, which is covered by insurance. The infusion is administered via IV therapy and takes 21 minutes, followed by an hour of observation. Patients will be brought into the clinic through a separate entrance and kept in an area designated for infusions separate from the rest of the clinic’s urgent care services.
The United States FDA has made monoclonal antibody infusions available under an emergency access mechanism called an emergency use authorization (EUA). The EUA is supported by a Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Infusions will take place during normal business hours at Mercy Urgent Care West Asheville, 1201 Patton Avenue, on an as-needed basis.
What are Monoclonal Antibody Infusions?
- Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. It’s used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized adults who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or the need for hospitalization
- The infusion is a IV therapy administered in an outpatient or hospital setting that directly neutralizes the COVID-19 virus
- It takes 21 minutes to administer, followed by an hour of observation. Afterwards, you are sent home and should continue isolating
- It is important to receive the treatment as soon as possible following a positive test result and within 10 days of symptom onset
- In clinical trials, those who received this treatment soon after diagnosis experienced fewer symptoms and hospitalizations
Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Process
- Provider fills out request form for monoclonal antibody treatment
- Patient is contacted for screening and to set up infusion for that day or next
- Day of Infusion:
- If patient has not been seen by a medical provider, Mercy provider will examine patient prior to infusion, in person or by telemedicine
- Patient brought into clinic through a separate entrance and kept in an area designated for infusions separate from regular urgent care services. Patient will need to sign consent form.
- Baseline vitals taken and IV is placed. Patient will be constantly monitored and vitals taken before, during, and after infusion.
- After infusion is complete (approx. 21 min.), patient will remain under supervision for 1 hr.
- Follow-up telemedicine appointment scheduled for 7 days from infusion
- “FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19” FDA.gov
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- “Monoclonal Antibodies for COVID-19: What We Know So Far” — Medical News Today
- “Regeneron Antibody Cocktail May Reduce COVID-19 Hospitalization by 70%” — Healthline
- “Like Somebody Gave Me A Happy Pill” — USA Today