DHSS Press Release: State-operated infusion center in Anchorage will provide monoclonal antibody treatments to eligible COVID-19 patients; therapies distributed statewide

Dec. 9, 2020 ANCHORAGE – The State of Alaska is receiving and distributing two monoclonal antibody treatments that recently received emergency use authorizations (EUAs) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The two new monoclonal antibody therapies – bamlanivimab by Eli Lilly and casirivimab/imdevimab by Regeneron – are being distributed to health care and skilled nursing facilities in Alaska that have trained staff and appropriate space to deliver the therapies by infusion. Distribution is being managed by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

The new therapies are delivered by intravenous infusion and used in the early treatment of COVID-19 patients. They can reduce the severity of infection and the chance of hospitalization.

In addition to the statewide distribution of the monoclonal antibodies to health care and skilled nursing facilities, the State of Alaska has established a temporary, outpatient, state-run infusion center in Anchorage to provide another location for patients to receive the monoclonal antibodies.

The state-run infusion center has been established inside the Alaska Airlines Center (AAC). DHSS is not activating the alternate care site that is located in the same facility – that site remains available to be used as needed – but is using the state’s contract with AAC to temporarily house the infusion center.

“DHSS has been able to stand this infusion center up within a very tight timeframe to be able to offer these treatments as quickly as possible to Alaskans who are positive and at highest risk for hospitalization. Between these new treatments and vaccines coming soon to Alaska, there is great hope on the horizon. The end of this pandemic is in sight, but we still need to remain vigilant to continue to protect Alaskans and save lives,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy.

The outpatient infusion center at the Alaska Airlines Center will begin treating patients today. Fairweather LLC is contracted by DHSS to staff the outpatient infusion center. The outpatient infusion center will start treating 15 patients per day operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with the goal of increasing operations to seven days a week and expanding the number of patients treated based on drug availability and patient need. The entire procedure takes about three hours per patient, including intake, infusion, monitoring and discharge.

Access to the temporary outpatient infusion center is by appointment only.

A physician referral is required. Individuals must have tested positive for COVID-19, be within 10 days of symptom onset and be among those who are at highest risk for hospitalization from COVID-19. Under the EUA, treatment is not authorized for hospitalized patients or those who require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.

Emergency use authorization criteria for bamlanivimab by Eli Lilly and casirivimab/imdevimab by Regeneron is:

  • Treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg, and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
  • High risk is defined as patients who meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Have a body mass index (BMI) ≥35
    • Have chronic kidney disease
    • Have diabetes
    • Have immunosuppressive disease
    • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
    • Are ≥65 years of age
    • Are ≥55 years of age AND
      • have cardiovascular disease, OR hypertension, OR chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease.
    • Are 12 – 17 years of age AND
      • Have BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts, OR sickle cell disease, OR congenital or acquired heart disease, OR neurodevelopmental disorders, OR a medical-related technological dependence (not related to COVID-19), OR asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication for control.

These therapies are limited; if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and believe you might be eligible, please contact your health care provider.

For more information, please contact Dr. Eric Troxell eric.troxell@alaska.gov.

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