TAMPA, Fla. — We're just days away from the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, but it will still be months before the majority of the country is eligible for vaccination.
Because of this, drug companies continue to push forward with new COVID-19 treatments, to help those who are suffering right now.
AdventHealth Tampa is now among the first in the Tampa Bay area to begin offering an all new Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody trial, in order to help shorten the number of time people are sick with COVID-19.
This new trial has not gotten an FDA Emergency Use Authorization, but it's a similar treatment to another Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody treatment that has received an EUA, which is already showing high success rates here in Tampa Bay.
Last Saturday, Jill Everitt, a 68-year-old woman living with COPD tested positive for COVID-19 at the Dade City AdventHealth location after dealing with mild to moderate symptoms.
“I was angry. I was angry that I was positive. I have been extremely careful, no social activities. I go to the grocery store and come home,” said Everitt.
The same day Everitt tested positive, she decided to receive the Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody treatment, which the FDA granted an EUA for on Nov. 9. Everitt fit all the criteria for the treatment, so they began the infusion.
“It provides almost a temporary immunity to COVID-19, and that prevents the progression of the symptoms getting more serious,” said Melinda Rivera, a Nurse Practitioner who oversees the antibody infusions at AdventHealth Dade City, and AdventHealth Zephyrhills.
AdventHealth offers the treatment at several locations across the Tampa Bay area under these qualifying conditions:
- A positive COVID-19 test
- Mild to moderate symptoms within 2 to 10 days of onset
- Comorbid conditions
So far, the average age of patients they have treated is around 55 to 60-years-old.
“They are at risk of developing the very serious, advancing to the severity of COVID-19, and many of them would’ve required hospitalization, so this has kept them out of the hospital,” said Rivera.
AdventHealth has not had a single hospitalization here in the Tampa Bay area, among the more than a dozen patients who have received the treatment.
“I think they probably saved my life,” said Everitt, who also said her symptoms were gone the day after she received the infusion of the monoclonal antibody treatment.
Now AdventHealth Tampa is expanding their treatments, adding Eli Lilly's newest trial, another monoclonal antibody treatment, which will broaden the eligibility for COVID-19-positive patients to those ages 12 and up, with mild to moderate symptoms and comorbid conditions are not necessary.
Both the treatment and the trial are only available to people who are not hospitalized with COVID-19.
Participants in the new trial do have a chance of receiving the placebo as opposed to the monoclonal antibody treatment.
To find out if you are eligible to participate in the Eli Lilly trial, click here.
To find out if you are eligible to participate in the antibody treatment, which is currently reserved for patients with comorbidities, who have mild to moderate symptoms, and especially those over 55 years of age, you will need to call an AdventHealth location.
The treatment is offered in Dade City, Zephyrhills and Tampa.