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Stonerise Care Blog

Blazing a Trail for BAM Treatment

By Dr. Anita Lorenzo, Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services

It can be tempting to take medical treatments for granted or assume that if a treatment works, those who need to know about it will and that patients will receive it. The pandemic showed us that in addition to scientific breakthroughs, we also need scientific champions to remain on the hunt for new treatments, and to help bring those treatments to patients.

Bamlanivimab (BAM), a monoclonal antibody therapy, is a drug now used widely to help individuals overcome COVID-19 and has proven instrumental in putting many Stonerise patients on the path to recovery from the virus. However, without the efforts of members of our clinical leadership team, this treatment may have not been so quick to reach patients. In November 2020, the drug was only available to a limited number of individuals in the United States and carried tight eligibility restrictions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EAU) for BAM on Nov. 9.

Stonerise Chief Medical Director, Dr. James Malone, Stonerise Morgantown Medical Director, Dr. Troy Krupica, and myself, extensively reviewed data and scientific literature from Eli Lilly around the use of BAM to treat COVID-19 patients. Following our study, it was our strong recommendation that Stonerise consider using the drug to help patients overcome COVID-19.

Stonerise partnered with United Hospital Center (UHC) in Bridgeport, WV, and, specifically, the Chief of Infectious Disease, Dr. Jonathan Stanley, to package doses of BAM for Stonerise patients. On November 25, 2020, two seriously ill COVID-19 patients at Stonerise Clarksburg received the first doses of BAM, marking the first instances in West Virginia of care centers like ours using the treatment. Upon receiving BAM treatment, both patients improved rapidly and completely overcame the virus.

Following the success at Stonerise Clarksburg, Stonerise physician leadership was asked to advise the state of West Virginia to help develop and expand protocols that are now broadly used within care facilities, hospitals and other provider settings. We’re proud to have led the charge for the use of Bamlanivimab in the Mountain state, setting the standard for clinical excellence and expanding the scope of patients statewide who were eligible and delivering our patients cutting-edge treatment.

Stonerise administered 104 BAM treatments from November 25 through the end of February 2021 representing 25 percent of all positive patients, including those who were asymptomatic. The drug was administered to the most acute and most in need and resulted in very positive outcomes for patients. Notably, Stonerise patients received the medication inside our care centers, which was safer and more comfortable for the patients and eliminated risks associated with moving to an infusion center. Patients did not have to leave centers because Stonerise has a team of physicians, nurse practitioners and clinical pharmacist specialists on-site at each center to provide and monitor the intravenous therapy.

Stonerise Nurse Practitioner, Julie Furrow, Stonerise Pharmacy Technician Shelly Clevenger, and Director of Nursing Jennifer Jordan, RN also deserve a huge ‘thank-you’ for making the first treatments at Stonerise Clarksburg possible so quickly.