Photo courtesy of UMMC
This morning, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced a new policy aimed at increasing the availability of a treatment that has been shown to reduce hospitalizations in those who contract COVID-19.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas shared that patients can now receive monoclonal antibodies without having to see a doctor or practitioner first. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses, according to the FDA.
“If you get COVID, the first thing you do is talk to your doctor about monoclonals—even if you don’t feel bad yet. You don’t want to wait until you’re so sick that it’s not going to work for you,” Dr. Dobbs said last week.
Currently, MSDH has a network of 40 “centers of excellence” that are administering the treatment along with other private clinics. As a portion of Mississippi’s request to the federal government, MSDH has put in an ask for 10 teams to help bolster the state’s efforts in making monoclonal antibodies available to everyone.
A monoclonal antibody infusion clinic will open on Tuesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center inside of the field hospital that was set up last week. The clinic, operated by a federal team sent to Mississippi, will open at 8 a.m. Tuesday and will operate until at least August 24. It will operate from 8 a.m-8 p.m. every day of the week, with at least 40 appointment slots available each day.
“We know that monoclonal antibody treatments may help patients avoid progression of mild symptoms into severe disease requiring hospitalization or leading to death. The availability of this clinic offers UMMC another tool in combating the devastating effects of this pandemic and in alleviating the burden of the state’s hospital system,” said Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs and COVID-19 clinical response leader.
The clinic will only be administering MAB treatments to those who are COVID-19 positive with mild to moderate symptoms and meet qualifying criteria. A full list of criteria can be found here.
Individuals must have an appointment before arriving at the clinic. The website for initial screening and linkage to appointment scheduling is here: https://covidmabtreatment.umc.edu/.
Additional information regarding UMMC’s clinic can be seen below:
UMMC, in conjunction with the Mississippi State Department of Health, is developing a phone-based appointment system. Additional information on the call system will be released upon completion of the project.
Individuals who screen as eligible to receive MAB based upon their responses to a series of qualifying questions will be able to schedule an appointment from a list of available appointment dates and times. Eligible patients should schedule an appointment date that is no more than 10 days from symptom onset.
Patients must bring proof of a recent positive COVID-19 test to their appointment. Only the patient will be allowed in the treatment and post-treatment monitoring area. Patients will be re-screened by a clinical team member at their appointment to ensure they meet qualifying criteria and that they are not too sick to receive treatment.
MAB treatment will be administered in the form of either an IV or shots. Patients should anticipate the appointment lasting up to three hours, to allow time for registration, preparation and administration of treatment, as well as post-treatment monitoring time.
Individuals who are not COVID-positive, but are seeking MAB treatment because they are high-risk patients and have experienced a close COVID-19 exposure can visit the MSDH website for qualifying criteria and available treatment locations for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis of COVID-19.
Patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, require oxygen therapy for COVID-19, or have an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19 are not eligible for MAB treatments.