Dr. Peter Ender speaking at the news conference.
Today St. Luke’s University Health Network treated it’s 1,000th COVID patient with life-saving monoclonal antibody (MAB) therapy.
"With the collaborative efforts of many smart and motivated people, this monoclonal infusion program has become incredibly successful in the outpatient care of patients with COVID-19,” said infectious disease specialist Peter Ender, MD, at a news conference at St. Luke’s Easton Campus on Wednesday. Ender oversees St. Luke’s COVID-19 treatment programs. “The logistics were not always easy, but this group has found a way to get it done.”
Monoclonal antibody therapy at St. Luke’s has helped hospitals in the greater Lehigh Valley region avoid being overwhelmed during the current surge, allowing certain high-risk patients to recover quickly in the comfort of their own homes.
Granted emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, monoclonal antibodies block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. Infusion has been found to be particularly effective in preventing the need for hospitalization in select, higher-risk patients including those who are 65 years of age or older and whose infection, identified early, does not yet require supplemental oxygen.
In November, St. Luke’s became the first health care provider in Pennsylvania to offer MAB therapy in an outpatient setting. The first clinic opened at St. Luke’s Easton Campus, followed shortly thereafter by a second clinic at St. Luke’s Warren Campus in Phillipsburg, N.J.
Earlier this month, St. Luke’s Miners Campus opened St. Luke’s third MAB clinic – the only facility in rural Schuylkill County offering this important therapy.
St. Luke’s is the leader in monoclonal antibody treatment in eastern Pennsylvania. Unlike St. Luke’s, most hospitals in Pennsylvania and across the country have not taken full advantage of their allocations of monoclonal antibodies. St. Luke’s is proud to have made this important weapon in the fight against COVID-19 accessible to the communities we serve.
St. Luke’s, which is participating in research on the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies, has found the therapy reduces hospitalization by 50% and emergency room visits by 40%, resulting in a significant reduction in the burden, including the financial burden, that COVID-19 places on the health care system. St. Luke’s is submitting the results of its study for consideration by peer-reviewed academic journals.