NYC Test & Trace Corps Now Connecting Patients at Highest Risk With Life-Saving COVID-19 Treatment | NYC Health + Hospitals

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NYC Test & Trace Corps Now Connecting Patients at Highest Risk With Life-Saving COVID-19 Treatment

Monoclonal antibody treatment can greatly decrease risk of hospitalization and death when given early in an infection

Apr 23, 2021

New York, NY

New Yorkers with COVID-19 are now being screened through the City’s contact tracing program for eligibility to receive one of the most promising therapies currently available to reduce the severity of the virus, the NYC Test & Trace Corps announced today. Monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment can greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 when given early in an infection, within 10 days after symptom onset. The therapy is administered as a one-time intravenous (IV) infusion, and is offered in an outpatient setting at all 11 hospitals in the NYC Health + Hospitals system.

“Monoclonal antibody treatment holds the potential to prevent the loss of lives and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and our contact tracers are uniquely positioned with a direct line of communication to the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “With the ability to connect patients most at risk to this effective treatment at facilities in our community, we have a powerful tool to improve outcomes. I urge anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to get tested right away and get connected to this important new therapy.”

Because mAb treatment is most effective when received soon after symptoms begin, NYC Test & Trace Corps contact tracers—who call those with COVID-19 shortly after they test positive—are uniquely positioned to connect New Yorkers with this potentially life-saving treatment. Eligibility for mAb treatment is based on age and underlying medical conditions, and tracers are able to quickly assess during the initial intake call whether someone is a candidate and, when appropriate, provide information about how to access the treatment.

Monoclonal antibodies, which are produced by cloning white blood cells, simulate the antibodies produced by a person’s immune system when they have an infection. In the body’s immune response to COVID-19, antibodies bind to the virus and block it from infecting cells. Monoclonal antibodies help the body fight off COVID-19 while the immune system is still in the process of making its own antibodies.

The NYC Test & Trace Corps contact tracing program is the largest in the country, and one of the first to incorporate mAb therapy screening into its work. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized mAb treatments for emergency use in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are at a high risk of progression to severe disease.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is currently being offered to those most likely to benefit from it, and it needs to be administered as early in the infection as possible. To be eligible, New Yorkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are within 10 days of symptom onset must meet the following criteria.

Adults age 18 and older who meet one or more of the following: Children ages 12 to 17 with one or more of the following:
  • Obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • An immunosuppressive disease
  • Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Age 65 or older
  • Ages 55 to 64 and have any of the following:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Hypertension
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease
  • Obesity with a BMI greater than or equal to 85 percent of patients of the same age and gender, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Congenital or acquired heart disease
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (for example, cerebral palsy)
  • Dependence on a medical-related technology such as a tracheostomy, gastrostomy or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19)
  • Asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication

Monoclonal antibody therapy is administered as a one-time intravenous (IV) infusion, and is offered in an outpatient setting at all 11 hospitals in the NYC Health + Hospitals system, which provides care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. New Yorkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and fit any of the above criteria should go to ExpressCare.nyc and click “Talk to a Doctor Now,” or call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) and press 9 for monoclonal antibody treatments. This hotline is available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week.

“Everyone should be aware of this potentially life-saving treatment, and it’s exciting that the Test & Trace Corps is now screening COVID-19 positive New Yorkers for eligibility,” said Andrew Wallach, MD, Ambulatory Care Chief Medical Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “To date we have treated more than 1,000 patients at our hospitals, and we hope to be able treat everyone who’s eligible.”

NYC Test & Trace Corps contact tracers reach out to New Yorkers with COVID-19 to provide them with information and resources and to learn who they may have exposed to the virus. By ensuring that those with the COVID-19 isolate and by contacting those who may not know they have been exposed, the Trace program helps stop the spread of the virus. To accomplish its mission, Trace is dependent on everyday New Yorkers to participate in the program, and urges everyone to answer the call if they get one. Calls from contact tracers will come from “NYC Test & Trace Corps,” “NYC Covid Test” or a phone number beginning with 212-540-XXXX or 212-242-XXXX.

More information about the Trace program can be found at testandtrace.nyc, and more information on mAb treatment can be found at hitesite.org/monoclonalantibody  and in the NYC Health Department’s Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for COVID-19 handout.


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