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Health expert discusses lesser-known COVID-19 treatment that's showing promising results

KOCO Oklahoma City logo KOCO Oklahoma City 1/23/2021
File Photo © KOCO 5 File Photo

A lesser-known COVID-19 treatment called Bam-infusion has shown some promising results.

“There’s two very similar products. The first is Bamlanivimab and the other is a combined product made by Regeneron that kind of got some press when President Trump took it,” said Dr. David Chansolme, an infectious disease expert at Integris.

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Chansolme told KOCO 5 that a Bam-infusion is like the monoclonal antibodies President Donald Trump received early on in his fight with the virus. The local health expert also said he’s seen it work with his patients.

So, how do Bam-infusions work?

“They are a manufactured antibody,” Chansolme said.

He said it’s pretty similar to the antibodies COVID-19 patients get from donated in plasma. But in some ways, the bam-infusion can be better than receiving convalescent plasma.

“Say I had COVID and you get COVID, and you take my plasma and I give it to you. I don’t really know what the dose is. There’s not a way to measure how much antibody you’re getting,” Chansolme said.

But with a Bam-infusion or Regeneron, doctors are able to know the exact dose you’re getting.

“Get ahead of the game a little bit and kind of kickstart the response,” Chansolme said.

But with Bamlanivimab and Regeneron, you have to get it very early in your COVID-19 fight.

“I’ve had some patients that say, you know, I’ll have a 70-year-old that I diagnose with COVID and I’m like, ‘Listen, you ought to get this drug.’ They’ll say, ‘Ahh, I don’t feel that bad.’ I’m like, ‘That’s why we want to give it to you now.’ By the time you’re sick, the horse is out of the barn,” Chansolme said.

There are strict guidelines you have to meet to receive these drugs, including:

  • Being over the age of 65
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • A high BMI
  • Diabetes

Chansolme also said if you have any of those conditions, call your doctor immediately to see if you qualify.

“You automatically qualify for Bamlanivimab the second you test positive,” he said. “You might ask your doctor whether or not you’re a candidate.”

Unlike plasma, a Bam-infusion doesn’t rely on a donor.

“There’s a fixed amount of plasma out there,” Chansolme said.

He added that there is more Bamlanivimab available right now for those who qualify.

“My understanding that only 25%, something like that, of what’s been allocate has actually been used,” Chansolme said. “I think we have an opportunity to give more people Bamlanivimab.”

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