Armor Health’s Proactive Approach to Treating COVID-19 Positive population.

Armor Health’s Proactive Approach to Treating COVID-19 Positive population.

By: Dr. Jimmy Fernandez, Chief Medical Officer, Armor Health & Roberto V. Pichardo, PharmD, Chief Pharmacy Officer Armor Health

COVID-19, has presented unprecedented challenges to our leaders, healthcare executive and clinicians.  Much like the general population, the correctional healthcare sector has been greatly impacted by the pandemic.

Most recently, the spread of the new delta COVID-19 variant has been found to be more infectious and leads to increased transmissibility compared to other variants.  This has led to an increased number in daily reported new cases.  This increase in patients infected with COVID-19 is beginning to overwhelm our healthcare infrastructure in certain states like Florida and Texas.

In an effort to provide high quality healthcare for our patient population, Armor has implemented proactive processes and procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at each of our facilities. We are incredibly proud of our COVID-19 Emergency Response plan which has received a “Best Practices” grade. In addition to our best in class action plan, we have begun administering monoclonal antibodies to those higher risk patients who meet criteria.  This allows us to maneuver quickly on our patients who possess the highest risk for suffering an adverse event.

Unlike many correctional facilities that experienced significant outbreaks of the illness in both the inmate and staff populations, our collaborative management and screening minimized illness within our sites, reduced risk to patients and staff, and provided a model for others to emulate. This emergency response plan was developed by the Armor Health COVID task force in conjunction with the corrections industry’s first and only Chief Infection Prevention Officer, Dr. Raj Palraj of the Mayo Clinic.

What are monoclonal antibodies and can they help treat COVID-19?

Monoclonal antibodies are manmade versions of the antibodies that our bodies naturally make to fight invaders, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to permit the emergency use of three monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19. These monoclonal antibodies attack the coronavirus’s spike protein, making it more difficult for the virus to attach to and enter human cells.

The treatments may be used to treat non-hospitalized adults and children over age 12 with mild to moderate symptoms who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, and who are at risk for developing severe COVID-19 or being hospitalized for it. This includes people over 65, people with obesity, and those with certain chronic medical conditions.

The monoclonal antibody combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, called REGN-COV, is made by Regeneron can be administered as a subcutaneous injection or as an   intravenous infusion in a clinic setting and is not currently authorized for hospitalized COVID-19 patients or those receiving oxygen therapy.

The Armor COVID task force embarked on a proactive approach providing guidance and direction to our facilities across 7 states to procure and administer the REGN-COV monoclonal antibody in all individuals and healthcare staff that met criteria.

Early adoption on the use of this agent prevented COVID-19 or progression to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization when given early in the infection to high-risk individuals who met criteria for use. This quick response prevented the progression of COVID-19 to affected individuals and averted hospitalization in a vulnerable population.

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