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Reading Hospital now offering monocolonal antibody treatment for COVID-19

Tower Health’s Reading Hospital has now been approved to offer the new COVID-19 treatment, bamlanivimab, the monocolonal antibody developed by Eli Lilly that is similar to the treatment President Donald Trump was given when he contracted the virus.

The treatment, which should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, is aimed at helping patients who are at high risk of progressing to a severe COVID-19 case or hospitalization.

In a phase II double-blind randomized controlled trial of 465 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalizations of patients who received bamlanivimab were 70 percent lower than for patients who received a placebo.

The treatment is given as an infusion. It will be administered in a recently converted unit on the fourth flood of E-Building on the hospital’s main campus in West Reading.

St. Luke’s University Health Network was also recently authorized to administer the treatment. It provides the infusion at its Easton and Warren County, New Jersey hospitals.

“The drug is initially being distributed to hospitals based on their COVID-19 census,” said Debra Powell, MD, chief, Division of Infectious Disease and medical director Infection Prevention at Reading Hospital –Tower Health. “We are pleased with the early results of bamlanivimab. We are excited that Reading Hospital will be able to provide this as another option to treat our patients while likely decreasing hospitalizations.”

According to the hospital, the treatment is aimed at the COVID-19 spike protein, which is the mushroom-looking projection from the main body of the virus.

Similar to the antibodies made by a person’s own immune system, the monoclonal antibody attaches to the virus, both preventing the virus’ attachment to the patient’s cells, and tagging the virus for destruction by the patient’s own immune system.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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