DURANT – The Choctaw Nation Health Care Center in Talihina has begun treating patients infected with COVID-19 with the REGEN-COVTM infusion therapy. The treatment is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) similar to the three available COVID-19 vaccinations.
The REGEN-COVTM treatment will currently be available for tribal citizens with a Certified Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card and Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority (CNHSA) associates. “We are purposefully starting with a limited patient base to ensure we are optimizing the process to provide the best possible care to our patients. We hope to open the therapy to further segments of the population quickly,” explains Todd Hallmark, Executive Officer of Health.
The infusion treatment will be through a vein (intravenous or IV) over 20 – 50 minutes. The patient will be in a semi-private treatment room dedicated to the therapy. After the infusion is complete, the patient will relax in the room or an adjacent room for an hour to monitor any potential side effects. The side effects of the infusion are similar to other infusion therapies, including brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, and possible infection at the infusion site. An allergic reaction such as fever, chills, nausea, headache, rapid or low heart rate, weakness, and other symptoms may also occur. Nursing staff will closely monitor patients for these reactions during and after a treatment.
“Being able to give this infusion to our patients is a big step in being able to treat them for COVID-19 before they reach a level in the disease process which would require hospitalization. Working with our CNHSA physicians, patients will be screened to make sure they fit the criteria for the REGEN-COVTM drug therapy and be quickly scheduled for their infusion,” says Jason Hill, D.O., Chief Medical Officer.
For many, this therapy could change their future. “It was a game-changer for my family members,” says Casey Smittle, a CNHSA associate. “My cousin and her husband were sick with COVID-19 to the point they needed medical attention. Their physician recommended they get the infusion therapy, and within a day, they felt healthy again.”
Patients experiencing serious COVID-19 symptoms but are not on oxygen should speak to their healthcare provider about the infusion to determine if the therapy is an appropriate course of action. Physicians and their designees can refer patients with a CDIB card to the Talihina facility by calling 918-567-7000.
To review the EUA for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals REGEN-COVTM, visit https://www.fda.gov/media/145612/download.
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