St. Luke’s University Health Network said it is one of the first in Pennsylvania to use a new experimental drug for the treatment of COVID-19.
The health network said it has established a monoclonal antibody infusion center at its Easton Campus.
It plans to open a second center at St. Luke’s Warren Campus in Phillipsburg, N.J. next week.
The experimental drug, which was developed by Eli Lilly, is similar to the product that was given to President Donald Trump after contracting the virus last month.
“St. Luke’s is pleased to be collaborating with Pennsylvania and New Jersey health departments to advance this important COVID-19 treatment,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke’s chief medical officer. “This approach will help our hospitals avoid being overwhelmed during the current surge as certain high-risk patients who receive bamlanivimab recover in the comfort of their own homes.”
The use of monoclonal antibodies was recently granted emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The monoclonal antibodies block the COVID-19 virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.
St. Luke’s said Infusion has been found to be particularly effective in preventing the need for hospitalization in some, higher-risk patients including those who are 65 years of age or older and whose infection, identified early, does not yet require supplemental oxygen.
St. Luke’s noted that it was also one of the first health systems worldwide to use Masimo SafetyNet, a cloud-based patient management platform, to help clinicians care for patients remotely. It works by using a wireless sensor to monitor patients’ vital signs and provide doctors with valuable clinical data that helps to inform difficult treatment decisions such as when to use a ventilator.