Aspirus Health first to offer COVID-19 antibody therapy in clinics
Treatments expanded beyond hospital, emergency department
LAURIUM — COVID-19 antibody therapy is now available as a subcutaneous injection, allowing Aspirus Health to administer its first treatments in a clinic setting at Aspirus Iron River and Aspirus Keweenaw Clinics.
This life-saving treatment is a combination therapy of Casirivimab and Imdevimab (REGEN-COV™) and is intended for people with COVID-19 who are at higher risk for hospitalization or developing more severe symptoms. The therapy can be administered via infusion or subcutaneous injections.
To date, Aspirus Health has treated 1,015 patients with COVID-19 antibody therapy with only around 3% of those later requiring admission to the hospital. This means that 171 additional hospitalizations and an estimated 34 deaths have been prevented by the therapy based on the 17-20% hospitalization and fatality rate expected for this population.
“Our Aspirus Upper Peninsula locations were the first to provide antibody therapy at our clinic facilities using the subcutaneous injection option,” said Rhonda Buckallew, an Aspirus Clinic Director. “We are proud to be able to offer this vital service to residents of Michigan’s U.P. to help deliver positive outcomes during the pandemic.”
Aspirus began offering COVID-19 antibody therapy in November 2020 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. It has since expanded to make the therapy available at all its hospitals in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and several of its sites in Wisconsin.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 must meet specific criteria to be eligible for antibody therapy. Eligible people include those ages 65 and older, considered obese, or who have a chronic disease such as diabetes, kidney, lung or heart disease, hypertension or any immunosuppressive disease.
Aspirus actively identifies patients appropriate for treatment and encourages anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to talk to their primary care provider about a referral for antibody therapy if they feel they meet the above criteria.