ASHLAND --  Ben Hobson, a clinical pharmacist at UH Samaritan Medical Center in Ashland, is hopeful about a new treatment for mild and moderate cases of COVID-19. 

In early December, the local hospital began offering a type of monoclonal antibody treatment. It received emergency use authorization from the FDA in November and is similar to what was used to treat former President Donald Trump when he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. 

Bamlanivimab is intended for individuals who are at high risk for experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms or hospitalization, but have not yet progressed to that point. Only those who are presenting mild or moderate symptoms and meet specific criteria are eligible for the treatment. It's primarily available to those age 65 or older or those with chronic medical conditions. 

The drug is ideally administered within 10 days of the onset of symptoms. The safety and effectiveness of Bamlanivimab continues to be evaluated, but early clinical trials have shown treatment did reduce COVID-19 related hospitalizations. 

"The goal is to prevent these cases from ever getting severe," Hobson said.

The hospital first administered the treatment in December. No one who received it returned to the hospital for further treatment, but Hobson didn't know any other information about their wellbeing. 

Among those treated locally was a resident at LSS The Good Shepherd. 

"He did very, very well, and he's since recovered," said Sarah Kerr, nursing director at The Good Shepherd. "It's just one anecdotal story, but what we've seen with him was very positive." 

The man is believed to be the first nursing home resident in Ashland County to receive the drug. In the future, Kerr Hopple hopes to offer the treatment on-site to nursing home residents. 

"We're feeling more and more optimistic," Kerr Hopple said. "We've done tons of testing, have vaccinations and now this treatment to improve outcomes." 

Those who are curious about receiving the vaccine are urged to contact their healthcare provider, if they are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms and meet the FDA's eligibility requirements

OhioHealth also began offering this treatment in early December from OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital and OhioHealth Marion Hospital.

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