CROSSETT, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — A woman in El Dorado is crediting a new COVID-19 treatment in saving her life. That treatment is now being offered at the Medical Center of South Arkansas.
“It it designed to keep them out of the hospital,” Director of One-Day Surgery, Semekia Amerison said.
In November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab.
The infusion treats confirmed COVID-19 patients who are at a high-risk of disease progression and hospitalization.
The Medical Center of South Arkansas of South Arkansas has been offering this to the community since the beginning of December.
There have been 21 patients who have received the hour-long infusion treatment though patients stay an 1-2 hours so they can be monitored for any negative reactions. According to MCSA, none of these patients have had an side effects.
“We’ve had some wonderful outcomes. We usually follow up with them to see how the treatment went and we’ve had great great success stories as far as them feeling better because of the infusion,” Amerison said.
Melanie Gray, 47, is a former resident of El Dorado but currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
She contracted the virus during Thanksgiving and tested positive on November 30. She says went to the emergency room with breathing problems and high fever. The ER doctor suggested the outpatient infusion which she received on December 4.
“I believe 100 percent it saved me from getting worse and it saved my life,” she said. “It took exactly an hour and then I stayed an additional hour so the staff could monitor for any side effects, which there were none. I felt better the next day.”
Amerison says the hospital has received many inquiries regarding this form of treatment.
Currently, MCSA can accommodate six patients per day. These patients will go through the one-day surgery area and there’s a specific location for these COVID-19 patients who won’t have access to any other part of the hospital.
“With the volume increasing we are making arrangements to do more. We’re ready to accommodate the community in whatever we can do to help,” Amerison said.
Gray believes this being available to those in rural Arkansas is a great opportunity for the community.
“This will keep patients from having to drive to Little Rock or Shreveport to have this treatment. Anyone who meets the requirements should take advantage of this lifesaving opportunity,” she said.
“I don’t think I would have come out of covid alive without this infusion being in such close proximity to where I live. If any of my friends and family In south Arkansas unfortunately contract Covid and need this infusion, it makes my heart happy to know they would have a chance to get it in El Dorado.”
Bamlanivimab is authorized for patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds), and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. “
This includes those who are 65 years of age or older, or who have certain chronic medical conditions.
You can learn more about the monoclonal antibody infusion here Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibody for Treatment of COVID-19 | FDA.
Please talk with your doctor to see if this treatment might be right for you or a loved one experiencing COVID-19. You can also the Medical Center of South Arkansas for any questions.