LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Las Cruces patients suffering from Covid-19 don't have to drive to El Paso for monoclonal antibody infusion treatment.
"We're pretty busy every day," said Andrew Cummins, a spokesman for Memorial Medical Center.
The Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for several monoclonal antibody therapies for patients affected by Covid-19. The FDA has limited the scope of certain treatments, issuing updated fact sheets for healthcare providers this month.
This is a vial of monoclonal antibodies produced by @Regeneron, which received an emergency use authorization by the @US_FDA to treat mild to moderate cases of Covid-19. Do you qualify for the treatment? Find out here ➡️ https://t.co/tpG7RYvBUm pic.twitter.com/jqpd3rBFlv— Kate Bieri KVIA ABC-7 (@KateBieri) December 1, 2021
Multiple healthcare providers told ABC-7 that they receive their allotment of the therapy from the state.
"Monoclonal antibodies are very useful in patients who meet the criteria for receiving it," said Dr. Elias Said, the director of the emergency department at Three Crosses Regional Hospital. "The FDA has given us strict guidelines as to what type of patient would benefit from it."
Dr. Said told ABC-7 that the hospital treats between five and ten patients a week, depending on the number of patients in the E.R. He said patients are not eligible for the treatment if they have hypoxemia, which means low levels of oxygen in their tissues. The FDA guidelines also require patients to demonstrate risk factors that show they have a good chance of progressing to severe disease.
"The drug cannot be given randomly to anybody," Said said. "There are strict guidelines."
At Memorial Medical Center, healthcare workers help an average of 90 patients per week, Cummins said. He said there is "increasing interest" in the treatment.
A spokeswoman for MountainView Regional Medical Center confirmed the hospital is providing monoclonal antibody infusions for patients who have a referral from their doctor.
Dr. Steven Acosta, an internist at Acosta Medical Clinic, said he received authorization to administer the infusions two weeks ago. He believes his clinic is the only outpatient infusion center in the city.
“It’s been incredible," Acosta said. Once people found out that it was available, we were overwhelmed with calls."
He said interested patients can schedule a telemedicine appointment to determine if they qualify for the infusions. They can call Acosta Medical Clinic at 575-449-4549 to do so.
"If they meet the criteria, we schedule them for an infusion," he said. "It’s not a cure, but more of a way to help the body fight off the virus and get people to heal more quickly.”
- Memorial Medical Center (by doctor referral)
- MountainView Regional Medical Center (by doctor referral)
- Three Crosses Regional Hospital (on a limited basis in the Emergency Department)
- Dr. Steven Acosta at Acosta Medical Clinic (patients can schedule appointment if they meet criteria from telemedicine visit)