CVS Health partnering with government to administer coronavirus antibody therapy

CVS Health partnering with government to administer coronavirus antibody therapy
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CVS Health will work with the Trump administration to administer a limited supply of a COVID-19 therapy to patients at risk for serious illness or complications from infection.

The agreement is part of a pilot program that allows CVS Health to administer bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody therapy given through an IV, to patients in their homes or at long-term care facilities.

“Americans need to know that this treatment is a possible option for patients who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 but who have not been hospitalized,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Tuesday. 

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Azar said that includes all Americans over the age of 65 who have COVID-19 but have not been hospitalized.

“Receiving this treatment, if you're in that category, could help keep you out of the hospital, potentially helping to save your life,” Azar said.

The therapy, which was used to treat President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE when he had COVID-19, is usually administered in hospitals and was awarded an emergency authorization by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in November.

The antibody treatment has been shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19 related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for serious illness.

The new agreement has the potential to free up some hospital space and staff in the seven metropolitan areas that are part of the pilot — Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa. The pilot only includes 1,000 doses of the treatment. 

The partnership comes as hospitals across the country are quickly becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. The U.S has more than 13 million total confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 270,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.