A new antibody infusion service is helping to neutralise Covid-19 and reduce hospital admissions for high risk patients with the virus.
The Covid Medicines Delivery Unit (CMDU) has been established at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to offer extra protection to clinically vulnerable patients, if they have recently tested positive for coronavirus.
The use of neutralising monoclonal antibodies (nMABs) or antivirals for non-hospitalised patients was launched by the NHS last month and since its rollout around six patients a day have received an infusion treatment as part of a newly established clinic on one of NNUH’s Covid-19 wards.
The use of nMABs helps to neutralise Covid-19 by using synthetic monoclonal antibodies that bind to the spike protein of the virus and prevent it from replicating to significantly reduce the risk of serious illness.
Prof Jeremy Turner, Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology and clinical lead for the service at NNUH, said: “Vaccination is the first line of defence against Covid-19 and is proving to be highly successful in reducing serious illness. Our second line of defence is therapeutics and we are really pleased to be offering this new service at NNUH to patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
“As a nation we are seeing half the number of people in hospital with coronavirus compared with last year and a tenth of the deaths because of the combination of the vaccines and medicines we have available. On average the use of nMABs will reduce the chances of Covid-19 hospitalisation by about a third and the vast majority of patients are so grateful and so impressed by the service.”
The CMDU service is delivered by the nursing team on Cringleford ward and supported by pharmacy colleagues. A team of doctors carry out the eligibility screening of patients in the community who are referred directly to the service following confirmation of a positive PCR test.
Eligible patients will be contacted by the hospital to receive an intravenous treatment of the drug Sotrovimab if they have tested positive in the last five days.
Where the administration of an nMAB is not possible, patients may be treated with a five-day course of Molnupiravir, which is an oral antiviral.
For more information about Covid-19 vaccination, visit COVID-19 vaccinations – Norfolk and Waveney CCG