For Immediate Release November 12, 2021

BEL AIR, Md. - (November 11, 2021) – University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) recently administered the 5,000th monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment for COVID-19 in the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). It is a significant milestone for the lifesaving treatment and part of UMMS' multipronged fight against the pandemic.

UM UCH opened a monoclonal infusion center in February on the UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center campus in Bel Air and has administered the second-most number of mAb treatments across the University of Maryland Medical System, providing more than 540 infusions.

Monoclonal antibody treatments are given to patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for serious illness. If given within 10 days of symptom onset, monoclonal antibody treatments have demonstrated the ability to reduce progression of severe COVID-19 and the need for hospitalization.

The 5,000th systemwide treatment was administered to Edward Arrison, MD, an anesthesiologist who is a Havre de Grace resident. He was fully vaccinated but ended up catching COVID-19. Dr. Arrison was part of the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, which began about a year ago through Pharmaron.

When Dr. Arrison wasn't feeling well and after he tested positive for COVID-19, he reached out to his primary care provider, who referred him to the mAb clinic at UM UCH about receiving the monoclonal antibody therapy. "I am thankful that I had this option to come and get this procedure done. It was totally painless, took about a half hour and I feel great," Dr. Arrison said.

A musician who enjoys going to the gym a couple of times a week, Dr. Arrison is recovered and back to a regular routine. "We are so fortunate to have this treatment available in Harford County," Dr. Arrison said. "I was fully vaccinated and yet despite that, I still ended up with COVID."

Mary Ghaffari, Pharm.D., BCPS, DPLA, Director of UMMS Clinical Pharmacy Services, explained, "A monoclonal antibody is an immune protein that is manufactured in a laboratory by the pharmaceutical companies and is designed to bind to a specific receptor in the body to help prevent worsening of symptoms and decreases the risk of hospitalization and death."

While not a substitute for vaccination, monoclonal antibody therapies have been used to treat diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders since the mid-1990s. UMMS has three available mAb treatment options — sotrovimab, Eli Lilly (bamlanivimab and etesevimab) and Regeneron (casirivimab and imdevimab) — for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk populations.

"For eligible patients, monoclonal antibody treatment is an effective way to fight COVID-19, and we are grateful to be able to offer it to our community in Harford County and northeastern Maryland," said Lyle E. Sheldon, FACHE, President and CEO of UM UCH. "Administering the 5,000th dose is a significant milestone for the UM UCH team."

Leslie Clark, RN, MSN, LBSW, Associate Vice President, Population Health, UM UCH, who manages the mAb clinic at UM UCH, noted clinicians are preparing for the possibility of an increasing demand for care and mAb treatment through the fall and winter months.

Besides availability at UM UCH, UMMS also administers monoclonal antibody therapy treatments at the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital, UM Shore Regional Health at Easton, the UM Laurel 3-4-5 Alternative Care Site in Prince George's County, UM Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata and via UM Medical Solutions Home Infusion Services.