Antibody treatment for COVID expanded

  • Commissioner Lori Shibinette Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services speaks at the twice-weekly COVID-19 update with Dr. Benjamin Chan and Governor Chris Sununu on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 1/21/2021 4:39:46 PM

A treatment targeted toward high-risk COVID-19 patients will now become more available throughout New Hampshire, state officials announced Thursday. 

Monoclonal antibodies, man-made proteins that mimic the body’s immune response to fight COVID-19, was approved by the FDA for emergency use in November to treat those who are at the highest risk of becoming hospitalized due to the virus. 

Until recently, the federal government has only provided this treatment to hospitals in New Hampshire. State health officials said the federal government has now allowed the treatment to be distributed further into the community.

Lori Shibinette, the Commissioner of the N.H Department of Health, said the treatment is now available at every nursing home in New Hampshire. The state has also brought on a variety of other providers, such as urgent care centers and independent practices, to begin offering the infusion. 

The treatment should be given to patients within ten days of their first symptoms. It should be used once a patient is hospitalized with the virus or requires oxygen. 

The treatment, which requires an intravenous infusion, takes about an hour to complete. Anyone who thinks they qualify for the treatment should contact their primary care providers to get a referral.

Vaccine distribution

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire has introduced an updated version of a bill to ensure that the United States will be able to mass-produce and administer COVID-19 vaccines quickly and efficiently.

Kuster and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a fellow Democrat, reintroduced the bill Tuesday.

“This legislation will help to ensure transparency in our vaccination efforts and that Americans — especially communities that have been disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus — will not face unnecessary delays or obstacles to getting vaccinated," Kuster said in a statement.

The bill would authorize $20 billion to expand upon the down payment made on vaccines and therapeutic development in the end-of-year spending bill from 2020.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.)

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