A new clinic at St Joes may help patients testing positive for COVID avoid being hospitalized. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is the first hospital in the province to pilot a dedicated COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Therapy in an outpatient setting for the Hamilton community.
The pilot program provides treatment for outpatients with COVID-19, who are at high-risk of progression to severe illness. While the first line of defense against COVID-19 is vaccination, this treatment will help to address the growing number of hospitalizations in high-risk individuals.
“Our goal is to reach the most high-risk COVID positive patients, to prevent them from getting so sick that they end up hospitalized or dying.” says Dr. Zain Chagla, Infectious Disease Specialist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “This pilot project will assist researchers in determining its impact and at the same time free up beds in our hospitals so we can continue to treat patients with other ailments.”
A monoclonal antibody is a type of protein that attaches to the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus and prevents the virus from entering and infecting healthy cells within the body. This therapy may help reduce the risk of progressing from mild or moderate COVID-19 to severe infection that requires hospitalization for high-risk individuals.
Initial studies show that COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy reduces hospitalization by 71% and reduces death by 70% in high-risk COVID-positive patients.
A physician referral is required for the monoclonal antibody therapy. Eligibility for referral is testing positive for COVID-19, over the age of 18, at high-risk of hospitalization, such as unvaccinated or immune-compromised. Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to get tested.
The Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Clinic is located at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Charlton campus.