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Pittsburgh-Area Hospitals And Clinics Turn To Antibody Treatment To Fight Omicron Wave

CBS Pittsburgh
CBS Pittsburgh
 2021-12-31

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WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. (KDKA) — Local hospitals and infusion clinics have shifted to administering just one of the three monoclonal antibody treatments because the others are not as effective against the omicron variant.

It’s been extremely busy at Olympus Infusions in West Mifflin. The parking lot was full of patients all day Thursday. The clinic currently only has one of the three monoclonal antibody treatments, which is called sotrovimab and is reportedly most effective for patients with the omicron variant.

“There’s still a significant amount of omicron in the area. And with only one monoclonal antibody available to treat that it seems to be a much efficacy, we’ve pivoted our current infusions at the clinic to (sotrovimab),” Dr. Timothy Campbell, Olympus Infusions’ chief medical officer, said.

The clinic switched to just administering sotrovimab in the last week, and there is clearly a huge need for it.

“We just started it up in October. Our first infusions were like four a day, went to 15 and thought we were party animals. We’ve gone up now to almost over 200 a day and it’s been nonstop and it’s just growing as time goes on,” said Dr. Campbell.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 1,980 additional COVID-19 cases in the state on Thursday.

UPMC is only using the sotrovimab monoclonal antibody treatment at its outpatient centers and emergency departments.

Dr. Erin McCreary, UPMC’s director of antimicrobial stewardship innovation and infectious diseases pharmacist, said when a new variant pops up, health officials do tests in a lab to see which antibody works best.

“We look at the virus and we look at the antibody and we see to what degree, we call it neutralizing — so what degree can it stop the virus from infecting yourselves. … with the omicron variant. The only antibody that seems to be effective at neutralizing it is sotrovimab,” Dr. McCreary said.

Dr. Campbell said the treatments being sent to them can change almost weekly. He said they aren’t getting as much of the sotrovimab as they’d like because of the available supply.

“There is not as much of it available as we would like. We are kind of at the hands of the Department of Health and how much they can provide for us. We’re still able to infuse 100 to 150 a day,” said Dr. Campell.

He said there will be more variants, which is why the clinic is ready for treatments to change.

Dr. Campbell said if you have COVID symptoms, get tested, and quarantine if you test positive. If you are high risk, vaccinated or not, set up an appointment to get the monoclonal treatment. You can do so here .

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