Kilili: NMI to get anti-COVID-19 drug

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Posted on Nov 18 2020

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The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is set to receive 10 vials of an antibody treatment for COVID-19 that has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

According to Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Ind-Saipan) in a post on his Facebook account, the FDA issued an “Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 treatment drug called “bamlanivimab,” which Sablan described as “an investigational neutralizing antibody treatment for COVID-19.”

According to the FDA website, bamlanivimab is authorized for patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing who are 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds), and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. This includes those who are 65 years of age or older, or who have certain chronic medical conditions. This means that health care providers are allowed to administer bamlanivimab only to COVID-19 patients who are not in the hospital and are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms and are at high risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization. The emergency-use authorization does not apply to patients who are already in the hospital due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.

One vial of bamlanivimab is equivalent to one treatment course, which is a series of treatment cycles that a person will go through. For example, treatment given for one week followed by three weeks of rest (no treatment) is one treatment cycle. When a treatment cycle is repeated multiple times on a regular schedule, it makes up a course of treatment.

Sablan said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans weekly allocations of the new drug based on the need of each state, territory, and freely associated states.

Sablan said that U.S. Congress made nearly $10 billion available through the CARES Act and other emergency funding to support the rapid development of effective medical countermeasures, like bamlanivimab, to combat the coronavirus crisis.

The FDA issued the Emergency Use Authorization last Monday, Nov. 9, for bamlanivimab.

“We cannot, we must not let our guard down in the fight to contain the spread of the virus. We must remain vigilant in our fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Marianas communities,” said Sablan.

COVID-19 in Guam

The Joint Information Center in Guam reported that Guam’s 99th COVID-19-related fatality occurred yesterday at the Guam Memorial Hospital at approximately 1:04am. The patient was a 73-year-old male with underlying conditions that were further compounded by COVID-19. He was admitted to GMH last Nov. 7 and was a known positive case.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero extended her condolences and stated the island cannot, and should not, lose hope in the fight against COVID-19.

She emphasized that the community should continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands. These simple actions can “save countless lives,” she added.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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