New COVID-19 treatment administered in Hawaii as hospitals brace for holiday surge

New COVID-19 treatment administered in Hawaii as hospitals brace for holiday surge

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two patients on Oahu have received the first doses administered in Hawaii of a cutting-edge COVID-19 antibody treatment.

Bamlanivimab, from drug maker Eli Lilly, is in limited supply in the islands. Hawaii got 80 vials of the drug last week in its first shipment. Each vial is one dose which is administered intravenously.

And on Friday, two patients in Hawaii got the drug.

One patient was treated at the Queen’s Medical Center, another at Straub Medical Center.

The product wasn’t distributed to hospitals in Hawaii right away as some worked through protocols to ensure COVID-19 patients would be kept separate in an infusion center from other high-risk patients.

A second shipment of 30 vials arrived this week in the islands.

And Hawaii is slated to get another 50 vials next week.

Bamlanivimab is for COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms, but who are at high risk for severe reactions and hospitalization. It’s given in an outpatient setting.

Another drug that has already been in use for months, remdesivir, has been used for those already sickened. Many patients who receive the drug are already hospitalized.

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said having both options can help with an anticipated surge after Thanksgiving.

“We actually have sent some of the drug to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Maui Memorial Medical Center and Hilo Medical Center and we staged five vials at each of those hospitals,” Raethel said.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Hawaii have held steady in recent weeks, at about 80 statewide.

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