Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services said the state of Maine will receive 300 doses of monoclonal antibodies this week to treat people with mild cases of COVID-19 who are at higher risk for hospitalization. The Biden administration is now allocating doses to states as demand for the treatment increases amid limited supply.
Meeting the demand for infusions of monoclonal antibodies has always been a challenge, said Dr. James Jarvis of Northern Light Health. It’s a lengthy treatment and must be done in a setting that doesn’t expose other patients to COVID-19. Jarvis said that Northern Light Health currently administers about 20 doses per day and has been preparing to ramp up by opening infusion centers at Mercy Hospital in Portland and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
“And we will continue to proceed with that. It’ll just be a matter of how much of the antibodies we can actually get delivered to us. That would be the rate limiting step for us, is how many people we can do infusions for,” Jarvis said.
Health care providers have been bracing for diminished supply. It wasn’t immediately clear Monday whether the 300 doses allocated to Maine will be sufficient. MaineHealth administers about 50 doses a week. MaineGeneral says it administers about 10 doses a week. Central Maine Healthcare didn’t have numbers immediately available, but said demand has increased.
The treatment has been found to be effective in patients with mild COVID-19 who are at higher risk for hospitalization, such as adults over 65 and people with certain medical conditions. But health officials say getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent serious disease.