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Tampa General becomes first in Florida to offer new antibody treatment for COVID-19

Posted at 8:17 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 08:18:05-05

Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to use a new treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Doctors say this out-patient treatment marks a dramatic shift in COVID-19 care. It's the first antibody treatment that got emergency use approval from the FDA.

It's from Eli Lilly and the company says the man-made proteins act like a human's immune response to help ease symptoms.

“Tampa General’s commitment to treating the community during this global pandemic is what allowed us early access to this first in class treatment,” said Dr. Abe Schwarzberg, chief of oncology and senior vice president of Oncology and Network Development at TGH. “Having these monoclonal antibodies will allow our medical teams to provide fast, effective treatment to those patients at highest risk for falling critically ill or possibly dying of complications from COVID-19.”

The treatment will allow physicians from Tampa General and USF Health to provide protection to COVID-19 positive patients with mild or moderate symptoms before they deteriorate further or require hospitalization.

To make sure it is getting to the people who need it most, physicians are only approving its use on high-risk patients at this time. High risk patients are COVID-19 positive who are within ten days of symptom onset and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Have diabetes
  • Have chronic kidney disease
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 35