BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Health on Wednesday encouraged physicians and patients to consider monoclonal antibody treatment, which has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent hospitalization in people with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
A new online referral portal through CRISP, the state’s electronic health information exchange, will allow physicians to more efficiently refer COVID-19 patients for monoclonal antibody treatment at several locations throughout Maryland.
“While the distribution of vaccines is a top priority, monoclonal antibody treatments are another tool that can help patients fight COVID-19. Monoclonal antibody treatments can reduce patients’ symptoms and help prevent hospital admissions,” said Acting MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “I encourage patients who have been diagnosed recently with COVID-19 to talk to a physician and see if a monoclonal antibody treatment is appropriate for them.”
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic natural antibodies’ ability to fight viruses such as COVID-19. They do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. In November 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization to allow the use of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients. The two monoclonal antibodies that can be administered are Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab & Imdevimab.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is available for Marylanders who are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. This includes people who are 65 years of age or older or have certain chronic medical conditions. Treatment includes a single, one-hour intravenous infusion, followed by at least one hour of observation.
Monoclonal antibody treatment can be obtained at a number of hospitals and other health care providers in the state, including:
● Adventist HealthCare Takoma Park
● Atlantic General Hospital
● Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital
● MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
● Meritus Health
● Peninsula Regional-Tidal Health
● UPMC Western Maryland
MDH has also made arrangements with nursing homes across the state for eligible residents who contract COVID-19 to have access to treatment through their long-term care pharmacy partners. Additionally, several dialysis centers now offer the treatment.
Physicians wishing to refer a patient for a monoclonal antibody treatment through CRISP’s new referral tool can find instructions and additional resources at coronavirus.maryland.gov.
Under a special arrangement with the federal government, a supply of monoclonal antibody treatment medications is available to patients for free. However, there may be costs related to administering the medications that are not covered by insurance.
Frequently asked questions about monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 are available at covidLINK.maryland.gov.