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Published on May 25, 2021

Cape Cod Hospital, MA Health Department and HHS partner
to introduce mobile unit to expand access to monoclonal antibody therapy and treat COVID-19 patients

Cape Cod, MA (May 26, 2021) – Cape Cod Hospital, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced today that it has expanded access to monoclonal antibody therapy (mAb) and will administer the treatment at a new mobile unit at the hospital. Positioned near the COVID -19 testing site, the temporary clinic will help patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 receive immediate treatment. The promising mAb therapy has been shown to keep high-risk COVID-19 patients out of the hospital.

The temporary mAb unit will be available beginning May 26, 2021 and open between the hours of 1-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. To confirm eligibility for the treatment, patients should contact their primary care provider.

If administered within 10 days of onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the one-time therapy is highly effective in neutralizing the virus and preventing symptoms from worsening. The treatment is administered through intravenous infusion, delivering medication directly into a patient’s bloodstream.

“As an organization dedicated to health equity, Cape Cod Hospital’s COVID-19 response has focused on vulnerable communities from the start,” said William Agel, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer for Cape Cod Hospital and Cape Cod Healthcare. “It is both a responsibility and an honor for us to now be able to provide treatment opportunities from a trustworthy source to Barnstable County patients.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is providing early support for the program, including Rapid Response Team nurses to assist this first monoclonal antibody infusion site on Cape.

“This mobile site will enable patients with early COVID to be treated quickly and safely with monoclonal antibody infusion.” said DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “DPH supports the addition of this program on the Cape to help prevent hospitalization and severe illness from COVID-19. ”

On March 17, 2021, HHS announced it was investing $150 million to increase access to mAb therapy for high-risk patients in underserved and disadvantaged communities across the country.  With support from KPMG LLP, HHS is developing new prototype models for expanding access to mAb treatment and leveraging an existing network of health care partners that have the experience and equipment necessary to provide the therapy. Cape Cod Hospital, with the assistance of Massachusetts DPH, is among the first groups of healthcare partners to join this national effort to equitably expand access to monoclonal antibodies and has been a national leader in policy, education, and dissemination of this life-saving therapy.

"Americans continue to test positive for COVID-19 in many areas around the country, and the most vulnerable in society are still at great risk of severe hospitalization and even death from this virus," said Dr. Meredith Chuk, the therapeutics distribution lead for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "We encourage high-risk patients who test positive for COVID-19 to seek out monoclonal antibody treatment as soon as possible. We are pleased to partner with leaders in the medical community, like Cape Cod Hospital, to make this treatment more accessible." 

The therapy is the first COVID-19 treatment granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for outpatient use. Last month, a Phase 3 clinical trial showed that the antibody therapy reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by up to 87% in patients who received the drug intravenously compared to those who received a placebo.

“Our state has felt and continues to feel the impacts of COVID,” said Bharel. “The good news is we have access to a safe and effective treatment, at no cost. We need to get the word out to save lives.”

Cape Cod Hospital is able to treat more than 30 patients per week. To be eligible for treatment, patients must meet the EUA definition of “high risk” and should discuss with their providers whether or not Monoclonal antibody treatment is right for them. The infusion treatment takes 20 minutes, then patients are monitored for an hour. There is no cost to the patient and treatment is offered regardless of immigration status or health insurance.