DETROIT – Henry Ford Health System announced Thursday it is partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatments.
That includes opening a new infusion center at CHASS Center and expanding infusion services at Henry Ford hospitals in Detroit, Clinton Township and Henry Ford Allegiance in Jackson.
You do not need to be a Henry Ford patient to be treated at any of the sites, but you will need a referral from a doctor.
These drugs have been available under an emergency use authorization since late 2020. Initially, the supply was tightly controlled over concern that there would be a high demand. It turns out there there are plenty in stock and what we need is for patients and doctors to be aware of when they can be used.
The treatments include Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab from Eli Lilly and Company and another combination cocktail from Regeneron. They are monoclonal antibodies that -- when given as a single IV infusion -- immediately give antibody protection against the spike protein on the surface of COVID-19.
The research on their effectiveness is what has guided the FDA in determining who can and cannot receive the drugs.
Those who are hospitalized or require supplemental oxygen do not qualify for treatment with a monoclonal antibody.
In order to qualify for monoclonal antibody treatments, you need to have at least one of the following high-risk conditions:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Immunosuppressive Illness
- Over Age 65
People who are between 55-65 years old with high blood pressure, heart or chronic lung disease are also eligible.
It can also be given to children between the ages of 12-17 who have other very specific medical conditions.
The bottom line is if you have symptoms, test positive for COVID and fit any of those criteria, you should contact your doctor about being referred for an infusion of monoclonal antibody treatment.
These treatments are not a subsititute for vaccination. The best thing for everyone is to avoid getting COVID to begin with and that can only happen with a vaccine. Monoclonal antibody treatments are only useful after you’ve become infected. While they are helpful, even with treatment, many people will still get worse.
You can find an infusion site using the National Infusion Center Association’s locator tool here.