ST. PAUL, Minn. (WXOW) - A new therapy drug used to help reduce the number of COVID-19 patients who need to go to the hospital is now available in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said on Tuesday that they've started distributing bamlanivimab. It is for use with treating patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.
MDH described the drug as "an investigational monoclonal antibody therapy for use only in people who are at high risk for severe disease, but who are not currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and do not require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19."
It got approval on November 9 from the FDA.
A statement from MDH said that while the drug is limited in supply, they are working with medical professionals around the state to help decide what patients are best qualified for the treatment. Minnesota received about 2,400 doses of the drug in their initial shipment.
Clinical trials involving bamlanivimab showed that use of the drug decreased the need for hospital and emergency room visits in adults who had mild to moderate symptoms of the virus. The tests also found that it decreased "the amount of virus as measured in the patient through molecular testing of the upper respiratory tract."
“To be able to use this treatment, people should get tested as soon as possible if they become ill and reach out to their health care provider quickly if they receive a positive test,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist and medical director for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in the statement. “Supplies will be limited at this point, but this therapy provides an additional option to help limit the impacts of this serious disease.”