COVID-19 antibody treatments lead to positive outcomes

WAUSAU, Wis. – Aspirus Health on March 10 treated its 300th patient with an experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment. The treatment is an infusion therapy using a drug called Bamlanivimab and is intended for people with COVID-19 who are at higher risk for hospitalization or developing more severe symptoms.


Aspirus’ results show that only 4 percent of those who received the treatment later required admission to the hospital. This means that at least 48 additional hospitalizations were prevented based on the 17-20 percent hospitalization rate expected for this population.


“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that people with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to developing complications from COVID-19 that often require hospitalization,” said Johonna Asquith, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Aspirus. “This treatment has been extremely effective in helping people manage their symptoms, deliver positive outcomes and even save lives.”


Aspirus began offering COVID-19 antibody treatment in November at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. It has since expanded to make the therapy available at its hospitals in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin Rapids and Portage.


People who have tested positive for COVID-19 must meet specific criteria to be eligible for antibody therapy. Eligible people include those ages 65 and older, considered obese, or who have a chronic disease such as diabetes, kidney, lung or heart disease, hypertension, or any immunosuppressive disease.


Aspirus actively identifies patients appropriate for treatment and encourages anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to talk to their primary care provider if they feel they meet the above criteria.