CHARLOTTE, N.C. — StarMed Healthcare will be the first non-hospital-system clinic in the Charlotte area to administer doses of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapy, REGEN-COV.
In an effort to meet the demand that will follow the onset of this therapy, StarMed said it has signed a lease at 491 N. Wendover Road to alleviate wait times and open up appointment slots.
150 daily doses of REGEN-COV will be administered at the StarMed Eastland site and the aforementioned site starting this week. The new space will have 14 private rooms to accommodate monoclonal antibody patients.
"There are so many COVID positive patients in our community and what we're doing is we're trying to decrease the burden on the hospital system by preventing these patients from going to the hospital or getting sicker," Rachel Wiedmann, a nurse with StarMed said.
The clinic space has it's own entrance and HVAC system so no one in the other offices in the building will have to interact with COVID-19 positive patients.
NCDHHS and both hospital systems are expanding access to the treatment too.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off COVID-19. It's given through an IV or injection and anyone with COVID-19 who is 12 or older and at risk of severe outcomes from the virus can get it. Vaccine status does not matter.
“They prevent the COVID virus from replicating and scientists think from moving down into your lungs which is when people get really sick,” Joe Macki, Vice President of Pharmacy for Novant Health said.
Macki said Novant Health has given 1,500 doses of the treatment since December and on Monday will have it available to kids at Presbyterian Medical Center.
Plus, NCDHHS and Atrium Health have partnered to expand access to the one time treatment. The hope is to take some of the pressure off the hospitals.
“When patients who were symptomatic with COVID received them, the amount of time a person had to visit a hospital or emergency room decreased by 70%," Dr. Lisa Davidson with Atrium said
StarMed said it will continue to work with other counties around the state to set up similar clinics.
The goal is to relieve the burden on the hospital system by offering REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody therapy to patients, which research validation has shown:
- Reduces the mortality rate of COVID-19 by 20%-70%.
- Decreases symptoms in COVID-positive patients by two weeks.
- Decreases viral loads to make patients less contagious.
For patients who are exposed to COVID-19, monoclonal antibody therapy can be used as a prophylaxis after being exposed to decrease getting symptomatic COVID-19 by 93%. REGEN-COV has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
StarMed said Monoclonal antibody therapy is completely free to patients and is not a substitute for getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Patients who SHOULD receive doses of REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody therapy:
- Individuals ages 12 and up who are unvaccinated can receive monoclonal antibody therapy.
- Anyone who is vaccinated but has an immunocompromised state due to underlying health conditions like
- cancer, organ transplants, autoimmune disorders or chronic steroid use.
- Individuals who are positive with COVID-19 with mild or moderate symptoms.
- Patients who SHOULD NOT receive doses of REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody therapy:
- Patients with severe symptoms, and anyone who is requiring increased oxygen due to being positive with COVID-19.
- Anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 but has been vaccinated and can mount a good response.
“I tested COVID positive on Sunday, Aug. 15. I was having some bad fever-like symptoms … with chills, a bad headache and body aches," a patient in a recent trial told StarMed. "The next day I signed up for StarMed Healthcare’s monoclonal antibody treatment and it did wonders for me. Today is Tuesday, Aug. 17, the day after I had the treatment, and I’m almost completely symptom-free."
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