El Paso to begin pilot treatment to combat COVID-19 Virus

City officials announced Tuesday afternoon that, beginning this week, El Paso will be providing the new COVID-19 treatment called Bamlanivimab, in an effort to prevent hospitalizations due to the progress of severe symptoms in high risk patients.

“We are grateful to have been selected to pilot a noble treatment program aimed at preventing higher hospitalization numbers among our most vulnerable loved ones thus improving their outcomes when infected with COVID-19,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

“Those who are most susceptible to complications of COVID-19 infection and who meet the specific criteria will be eligible to receive this treatment.”

El Paso was selected to provide this treatment modality of monoclonal antibody developed by Eli Lilly due to the high number of COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations. El Paso has received a limited number of doses of this new infusion treatment.

The FDA has granted the emergency use of Bamlanivimab, which is a medication used for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who meet the following criteria:

  • COVID-19 positive
  • Non-hospitalized adults and adolescents 12 years of age and older
  • Mild to moderate symptoms
  • Weigh 88 pounds or more (high BMI over 35 for adults or over the 85th percentile for a child’s age and gender based on the CDC growth charts)
  • Underlying health conditions (chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive disease, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, respiratory disease, or other)
  • High risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms

Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are already hospitalized or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.

A complete list of the qualifying criteria will be made available on EPStrong.org later today.

Officials say that patients who qualify for the treatment will receive a one-time intravenous (or IV) dose that takes about 1 hour to infuse. Patients will be required to wait an additional hour to monitor the reaction to the treatment.

Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and meet the criteria may be screened at participating clinics.

Participating clinics are currently being brought on board, and will be added to a list of screening sites to be posted on EPStrong.org.