Eli Lilly and Company’s antibody therapeutic will be distributed as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.
Tampa, FL (Nov. 18, 2020) – Tampa General Hospital provided the first monoclonal antibody treatment to a COVID-19 positive patient today. The monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab from Eli Lilly is a first in class treatment that will allow physicians from Tampa General and USF Health to provide protection to COVID-19 positive patients with mild or moderate symptoms before they deteriorate further or require hospitalization. This single dose infusion-based treatment is provided on an outpatient basis and marks a dramatic shift in COVID-19 care.
“Effective delivery of this treatment can be logistically complicated,” said Dr. Kami Kim, director of the Division Infectious Diseases and International Medicine at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “Tampa General Hospital and USF Health were already actively conducting clinical trials on COVID-19 and had the team, location and infrastructure in place to identify and care for the patients who can benefit most from this treatment.”
The monoclonal antibody is a man-made protein that acts like a human antibody in the immune system. It works to block the “spike protein” in the virus before it can enter human cells and cause illness. Introduction of a monoclonal antibody in a sick person essentially neutralizes the virus and stops it from worsening and spreading. The monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab is delivered through a single hour-long infusion treatment. After the procedure, patients are monitored for another hour to ensure there are no side effects and then return home to continue their recovery.
Because production is just ramping up there is a limited supply of the monoclonal antibodies currently and it is unclear whether there will be enough medicine for all patients who qualify for this treatment. To make sure it is getting to the people who need it most, physicians are only approving its use on high-risk patients. High risk patients are COVID-19 positive who are within ten days of symptom onset and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Age 65 or older
- Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
- Have diabetes
- Have chronic kidney disease
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 35
In the event of a shortage of monoclonal antibodies, clinicians will work with patients to determine whether they qualify for similar drugs that are under investigation as part of numerous research trials currently underway at USF and TGH.
“Tampa General’s commitment to treating the community during this global pandemic is what allowed us early access to this first in class treatment,” said Dr. Abe Schwarzberg, chief of oncology and senior vice president of Oncology and Network Development at TGH. “Having these monoclonal antibodies will allow our medical teams to provide fast, effective treatment to those patients at highest risk for falling critically ill or possibly dying of complications from COVID-19.”
The Eli Lilly monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the treatment of mild to moderate symptoms from COVID-19. TGH received some of the first supplies in the country and has the option to request additional doses on a weekly basis to serve the community.
USF Health's mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the Taneja College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and USF Health’s multispecialty physicians group. The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. For more information, visit health.usf.edu.
ABOUT TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL
Tampa General Hospital, a 1006-bed non-profit academic medical center, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With five medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center and its 32-bed Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of Florida. It also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health and 18 outpatient Radiology Centers. Tampa Bay residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in select areas through TGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track. As one of the largest hospitals in Florida, Tampa General Hospital is first in the state to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost. For more information, go to www.tgh.org.