LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Las Cruces patients suffering from Covid-19 do not need to travel to El Paso for monoclonal antibody treatment.
“We’re pretty busy every day,” said Andrew Cummins, a spokesman for Memorial Medical Center.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency approval for several monoclonal antibody therapies for patients affected by Covid-19. The FDA has restricted the scope of certain treatments and released updated fact sheets for healthcare providers this month.
Several health care providers announced to ABC-7 that they are receiving their allocation of therapy from the state.
“Monoclonal antibodies are very useful in patients who meet the criteria for inclusion,” said Dr. Elias Said, the emergency room director at Three Crosses Regional Hospital. “The FDA gave us strict guidelines as to what type of patients it would benefit.”
Said told ABC-7 that the hospital treats between four and five patients a day on the infusion. He said patients are not eligible for treatment if they have hypoxemia, which means low levels of oxygen in their tissues. FDA guidelines also require patients to demonstrate risk factors that show they have a good chance of progressing to a serious illness.
“The drug cannot be given to anyone randomly,” Said said. “There are strict guidelines.”
At Memorial Medical Center, health care workers help an average of 90 patients a week, Cummins said. He said there was “increasing interest” in the treatment.
A spokeswoman for MountainView Regional Medical Center confirmed that the hospital provides monoclonal antibody infusions for patients who have a referral from their doctor.
Dr. Steven Acosta, an internist at Acosta Medical Clinic, said he received approval to give the infusions two weeks ago. He believes his clinic is the only outpatient infusion center in town.
“We take referrals from all of our local emergency services,” said Acosta.
He said interested patients can schedule a telemedicine appointment to see if they qualify for the IVs.
“If they meet the criteria, we’ll schedule them for an IV,” he said.
- Memorial Medical Center (upon referral)
- MountainView Regional Medical Center (upon referral)
- Three Crosses Regional Hospital (limited in the emergency room)
- Dr. Steven Acosta of Acosta Medical Clinic (patients can make appointments if they meet the criteria of the telemedicine visit)