UK’s Pediatric Specialty Clinic treating COVID-19 in children. Dr. Sean McTigue shares what you should know.
Staff and providers at Kentucky Children’s Hospital recently created a new clinic to provide monoclonal antibody therapy for kids.
The Specialty Infusion Clinic, located in UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Clinic, serves as Kentucky’s primary site for pediatric COVID monoclonal antibody infusions and can treat up to 26 patients per day.
We recently spoke with UK HealthCare’s Dr. Sean McTigue, medical director for Pediatric Infection Prevention and Control at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, about this new COVID-19 treatment.
What is monoclonal antibody therapy?
These are artificially produced antibodies similar to the ones that your own body produces in response to COVID infection or COVID immunization that bind to the virus and neutralize it. It is given to a patient who is infected with COVID but not requiring hospitalization in order to reduce the likelihood of progression to severe illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization and ventilation.
Who qualifies for this treatment?
The treatment is available under EUA (emergency use authorization) for patients 12 years of age and older who weight at least 40 kg (about 88 pounds), who have documented COVID infection without need for admission and who have at least one high-risk condition such as obesity (the most common risk factor in children hospitalized for severe or critical COVID), diabetes, immunosuppression, heart disease, etc. It is also available for post-exposure prophylaxis for these same patients who are either unvaccinated or who are not expected to make a full response to vaccine due to immunodeficiency.
Can anyone call and get an appointment? How do I get my child treated?
This treatment needs to be ordered by a medical provider, so self-referral is not permitted. If a child aged 12 years or older tests positive for COVID, their parent can call their primary care provider to discuss treatment. If treatment is appropriate the, provider can send orders to our clinic and we will schedule the patient.
How many infusions are needed?
This treatment is a single IV infusion given over 30 minutes. The entire visit should take about 2-3 hours.
Are there any side effects from this treatment? Any long-term complications?
Treatment is very safe and has no long-term complications. Antibodies are eliminated from the body over the months following treatment. Any IV infusion carries a risk of allergic reaction, but this has been incredibly rare and we are prepared to manage one should it occur.
Is this available to kids 12-17 who have been vaccinated? Non-vaccinated?
Treatment is available for any child who meets the EUA criteria whether immunized or not.
What role does this therapy play in preventing serious illness in children 12 and older?
This therapy is NOT a replacement for immunization, which is the most important and effective tool for prevention of COVID infection and severe illness. It is, however, a great additional tool to help prevent the progression to severe illness in higher-risk children who have become infected and can help keep them out of the hospital and out of the ICU.
About the clinic
The Specialty Infusion Clinic has 13 infusion spaces with two rooms that can accommodate siblings. The infusion itself takes 30 minutes, but families can expect to spend about three hours at the clinic.
Location: Kentucky Clinic.
Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
This clinic, as well as the facility for adults, only accepts patients by referral. Please contact your primary care provider for a referral.
To get a COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.kycovid19.com to find vaccination site near you.