Mayo Clinic Health System program helping keep COVID patients out of the hospital with infusion therapy

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse is developing a way to help treat certain COVID patients while keeping them out of the hospital, and this new program could help prevent hospital overflow.

“This is the medicine that hopefully will keep me block stuff off so I get back to normal,” COVID patient Daniel Valley said.

Valley, a La Crosse resident, recently tested positive for COVID. His symptoms right now are fatigue and lack of appetite.

“I don’t know how I got it,” Daniel said. “I’ve been really careful with everything due to my health.”

Daniel is a Type 1 diabetic and his kidney function is at 23 percent.

“And that’s why I’m getting this drug because, you know, with the COVID, if I do get it, and it gets worse, I may not survive,” Daniel said.

Knowing his health could become much worse, Daniel is taking an antibody treatment called bamlanivimab, or bam for short.

Research so far has shown that the bam treatment improves COVID symptoms sooner in certain patients, which would allow them to recover at home.

“Hoping we can even keep just a couple patients out of the hospital is very rewarding,” registered nurse Molly Bruder said. “We know our hospital is full right now.”

Mayo Clinic is providing certain patients with the bam treatment or the antiviral, remdesivir.

The bam treatment is only given to patients with mild to moderate COVID symptoms.

“Patients that are hospitalized are receiving remdesivir get five doses,” Bruder said. “If they’re getting better enough that they don’t need to be in the hospital that whole time, they can come in, get their infusion and go back home.”

Bruder says Mayo staff have given remdesivir to younger patients with underlying conditions as well.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t want you to come in if you’re sick,” Bruder said. “But we really want to make a difference here.”

Daniel admits he hesitated before trying the bam treatment.

“A nurse called me,” Daniel said. “Told me some side effects, this and that.”

But this experimental drug is working for him.

“Right now I feel real good,” Daniel said. “If your own doctor says ‘hey, this would be a good drug for you,’ I would go in and have it done.”

Mayo Clinic tells News 8 Now through the program, it has given 52 doses of the bam treatment and 14 doses of remdesivir to patients so far.

Only a few patients have decided against getting these treatments.

Again, patients must meet certain criteria if they are to get the medications.