The past year has brought pain, suffering and death to many, including beloved community members here in eastern North Carolina. For those deemed high-risk, the virus seemed an insurmountable enemy, especially early in the pandemic.

As we all know, the COVID-19 vaccine is a “dose of hope” for our community, but a treatment option is also providing hope for vulnerable patients infected with COVID-19.

Bamlanivimab plus etesevimab, more commonly called “Bamlan,” is a specific treatment that helps the immune system bind up the virus before it can enter the cells to enact damage. It is a onetime infusion much like getting IV fluids.

The treatment has been shown in published trials to be able to prevent hospitalization or worsening of the disease process if given to various at risk groups before 10 days of symptom onset or of a positive test if asymptomatic. Examples of high-risk patients are those who are elderly or suffering from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or immune system issues to name a few.

Vidant is one of a few health care organizations in the state that offers Bamlan treatment to patients. So far, Vidant has treated more than 800 community members with Bamlan and the results have been promising.

We’ve learned much as a medical community over the past year and there is now hope for those most at-risk to suffer severe complications from COVID-19. Interested community members can call Vidant Bamlan Hotline at 252-847-6500 to learn more.

Dr. Thomas Ryan Gallaher is an infectious disease specialist at Vidant Health and Dr. James Manning is Vidant Health hospitalist medical director.

Contact Bobby Burns at baburns@reflector.com and 329.9572.