New Pediatric Specialty Infusion Clinic Provides Monoclonal Antibody Therapy to Treat COVID-19 in Children

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (October 1, 2021) – When Kentucky Children’s Hospital staff and caregivers were tasked with establishing the primary site for pediatric monoclonal antibody therapy in Kentucky, they transformed an empty clinic space into a state-of-the-art infusion clinic. And they did it in just nine days.

“This entire space was a former clinic space used for office space and storage,” said Matthew Horn, director of ambulatory clinical operations for Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “Everyone from clinic staff to maintenance personnel stepped up and transformed it into a place where we can provide life-saving treatments to children.”

The Specialty Infusion Clinic will serve as the primary state location for pediatric COVID monoclonal antibody infusions. Based at UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Clinic, the staff can administer monoclonal antibody therapy to up to 26 patients per day.

Monoclonal antibodies, used by the FDA in an emergency, are similar to the antibodies your immune system would produce in response to an infection. They are mass-produced and designed to tackle the coronavirus. The therapy is used to boost the body’s own immune system to fight the virus, but is not intended as a replacement for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This treatment is allowed in patients 12 years and older — children old enough to be vaccinated,” says Sean McTigue, MD, interim chief of pediatric infectious diseases at KCH. “The infusion can prevent serious illness and hospitalization, but the vaccine is still the first and best line of defense.”

Patients ages 12 to 17 who test positive for COVID or have had a known exposure are eligible for infusions if they have risk factors such as:

Obesity or overweight (body mass index greater than 85 percent for age and sex on CDC growth charts) Chronic kidney disease Diabetes Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment Cardiovascular disease, including congenital heart disease Sickle cell disease Pregnancy Chronic lung disease including moderate to severe asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension Neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy, genetic/metabolic syndromes, severe congenital abnormalities Patients dependent on medical technology such as tracheostomy, gastrostomy, positive pressure ventilation not related to COVID-19

The Infusion Clinic has 13 infusion rooms with two rooms that can accommodate siblings. The infusion itself takes 30 minutes, but families can spend about three hours in the clinic.

The Specialty Infusion Clinic is located in the Kentucky Clinic. Hours of operation are 3-9pm, Monday through Friday. This clinic, as well as the adult facility, only accepts patients by referral. Please contact your GP for a referral.

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