Healthbeat: UPMC to announce results of first-ever COVID-19 treatment clinical trial


EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The health headlines these days are focused on a surge in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the omicron variant.

Before omicron is detected in Pennsylvania, a major healthcare provider is addressing existing treatment options and prevention measures.

UPMC, like other medical facilities, is dealing with a harsh reality during the pandemic: the more cases of COVID-19 in the community, the more severe cases that will surface. Even though COVID hospitalizations are now the highest in the UPMC chain since this time last year, there’s encouraging news.

“We are sharing our results from UPMC patients that could help other healthcare providers caring for those with COVID-19 and reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths that we see this winter,” explained Erin McCreary, Pharm.D., Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship Innovation and Infectious Diseases, UPMC.

She says UPMC performed the first and largest clinical trial in the world comparing different methods of administering monoclonal antibody treatment.

“We found that giving this treatment to outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 via injections under the skin, or subcutaneously, is essentially as effective as giving it through an IV,” said McCreary.

UPMC reports the method can more than double the number of patients treated with this medication and save as many lives as possible.

The outpatient procedure, if done early, accomplishes another significant goal: keeping more people out of emergency rooms and hospital beds.

“We’re focused on being as efficient and as effective as possible. We want to provide every minute of care that you need in a hospital but not a minute longer,” said Dr. Donald Yealy, Chief Medical Officer, UPMC.

UPMC doctors also urged what we’ve heard through much of this pandemic: get vaccinated, wear masks when indoors or in crowds, stay home if you’re sick and get tested for COVID.

“I believe that we can all have a healthy and happy holiday season by working together, taking care of each other, and being diligent in taking these simple actions that we know are effective in protecting us against COVID-19,” said Dr. Yealy.

While UPMC doctors were focused on COVID-19 including the emerging omicron variant, the flu is very much on their minds.

They urge patients to get their flu shot as soon as possible.

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