NHS Tayside has now seen 100 patients undergo a revolutionary new treatment for COVID-19 for people with specific health conditions.
Tayside’s first patients received the new intravenous infusion of monoclonal antibodies on December 22, just days after national approval for the use of the treatments.
Penny Hepburn, who lives near Kinross, was “honoured” to be the first Tayside patient to receive the treatment.
In less than a month, Tayside’s dedicated team have now seen and assessed over 500 patients and delivered 100 treatments.
The infusion provides an additional layer of support for eligible patients who are considered high risk due to underlying health conditions.
Adults and children 12 years of age or older may be evaluated for this treatment if they are considered high risk with a clinical condition or if they are taking certain immunosuppressive medications.
They must also have received a positive PCR test for COVID and have symptoms of COVID-19 that began within the past five days.
A clinician will then do an assessment to see if the new COVID-19 therapies are right for them.
If they are eligible, they will be contacted with further information on how to access the drugs.
Clinical Director of Unscheduled Medicine, Dr Monica Doyle, said: “It is great to see so many of our patients receiving this revolutionary new treatment.
“Tayside have led the way over the past few weeks with a fantastic team of nurses, pharmacists, administrative staff, GPs and consultants ensuring that anyone who is eligible is offered the treatment.
“We are very fortunate to work with such a large group of dedicated healthcare professionals who are providing this to the people of Tayside.
“We have invested time and resources in this service as we believe it is of great benefit to our patients and will also help reduce the number of people who will need hospital care for COVID.
“It helps us run other services. However, these treatments are in addition to vaccinations against COVID-19 and do not replace them.
“Getting vaccinated remains the single most important step anyone can take to minimize the impact of COVID-19.”
Chief Clinical Pharmacist Arlene Shaw added: “The treatment is a neutralizing antibody therapy which aims to minimize the deterioration of COVID-19 in high-risk patients in the early stages of the disease, thereby reducing the risk of hospitalization and of subsequent death.
“It works to prevent the virus from entering cells in the body, which is why we need to treat people within five days of showing symptoms of COVID. Patients welcomed the opportunity to be offered these additional treatments and feedback reflected the well-organized and timely delivery of treatments to this vulnerable population.
“The journey also highlighted the strength of NHS Tayside working collaboratively across borders and professions to deliver the best possible care to our patients.”
Full details on the new treatments can be found at coronavirus (COVID-19): Treatments | NHS Inform.