LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Spencer County man believes an experimental drug helped prevent him from suffering the serious effects of COVID-19.
“You know I’m a fighter,” Fisherville resident Jerry Harden told WAVE 3 News. “I’ve been through some bad stuff. But I didn’t foresee this working this well. I mean, it was really a great relief.”
Harden, a diabetic cancer survivor, is one of the latest patients to benefit from an infusion of Bamlanivimab.
The drug, which is described by scientists who created it at Eli Lilly as “man-made antibodies that are similar to the antibodies of patients who recovered from COVID-19,” is only approved for use on high-risk patients. The manufacturer claims a Bamlanivimab infusion reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 70%.
“And the key is to give it to them (patients) early,” Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor, the UofL Hospital service line medical director, said. “Because the study that got it emergency approval said that, if you give it early enough, we can prevent progression of symptoms and we can prevent hospitalization.”
Bamlanivimab does not yet have FDA approval, though it was allowed for emergency use in November without knowing definitively if it would be safe or effective against COVID-19.
Harden said he developed COVID-19 symptoms just before Christmas, and he received Bamlanivimab within a few days.
“It’s hard to explain what it does to you,” Harden said. “But I knew before I got up, I was feeling a lot better, and then when I did get up it was much better.”
Briones-Pryor said that UofL results coincide with research showing that the virus can disappear in 11 days in patients with the drug’s use.