On December 2, CVS Health was selected today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as part of Operation Warp Speed, to pilot the administration of a limited supply of bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody COVID-19 therapy, with eligible COVID-19 patients at-risk of severe infection or complications resulting from the virus.
Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).
“Under this pilot, Coram, the specialty pharmacy and infusion care business of CVS Health, will administer the intravenous therapy in patients’ homes or long-term care facilities to help meet the growing demand for these new treatments. Coram and its more than 800 certified and highly trained nurses across the country are a prime example of how CVS Health offers diversified health services to transform health and meet people where they are – whether in normal times or during the ongoing pandemic,” – CVS writes.
Coram, the company’s infusion care business, will help transition eligible IV-therapy patients out of the hospital and other care settings by providing in-home nursing. As COVID-19 rates surge in many parts of the country, Coram also has worked to help keep patients out of inpatient and hospital settings altogether, alleviating pressure on the health care system and preserving important hospital resources for the most critical patients.
“These newly available, important COVID-19 treatments can make a difference for patients at high risk for severe illness or complications, but they need to be administered intravenously by health care providers and with the appropriate clinical expertise and oversight,” said Sree Chaguturu, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark and Senior Vice President, CVS Health.
“Our Coram model allows us to meet patients where they are during the pandemic by delivering safe, clinically appropriate home-based care, and we stand ready to deploy our teams when and where the need is greatest as supply of these new monoclonal antibody treatments ramp up over the coming year.”
COVID-19 Therapy Begins Now
Coram will begin administering 1,000 doses of monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 in seven cities and their surrounding communities starting Thursday, December 3, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa, as new COVID-19 infections continue to rise rapidly in these regions. Following the pilot, and as drug supply increases, Coram will scale this solution to additional markets in areas of the greatest need.
To be able for bamlanivimab through Coram, and in accordance with the COVID-19 therapy Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, patients must not be hospitalized, be within 10 days of symptom onset, at least 12 years of age or older, weighing at least 40 kilograms (or 88.2 pounds), and at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization.
Patients can be referred to Coram for treatment from a hospital, urgent care or telemedicine appointment, long-term care facility or their primary care physician following a positive diagnosis. There is no out-of-pocket cost to the patient for this care.
“Patients can rest assured they are receiving the best care possible through Coram in the safety and comfort of their own home or long-term care facility, and Coram is poised to continue to meet shifting health care demands as the importance and value of home-based care will undoubtedly outlive the pandemic,” added Prem Shah, Pharm.D., Executive Vice President of CVS Specialty and Product Innovation.
“This established and experienced clinical service further demonstrates CVS Health’s unique ability to touch all aspects of a person’s health to make their experience more accessible and affordable.”