Virus Outbreak Texas

Dr. Robin Armstrong, left, prepares to enter The Resort at Texas City nursing home, where he is the medical director, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Texas City, Texas.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have alerted nursing facilities throughout the state to take advantage of available monoclonal antibody therapies to treat residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

These are investigative medications recently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. Until the nationwide supply is sufficient, Texas will allocate the available doses of bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab, DSHS states.

"These life-saving monoclonal antibody therapies play a critical role in our fight against COVID-19, and I urge nursing facilities across the state to take advantage of these treatments," Abbott said in a statement. "Thanks to our partnership with the federal government, these therapeutics are readily available for nursing facilities and other health care settings to help us treat COVID-19 patients and reduce hospitalizations."

DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt sent a letter to nursing home facility administrators to consider using monoclonal antibodies whenever appropriate. They have shown promise in reducing hospital admissions for patients who have been diagnosed with the disease, have mild or moderate illness, and are in a high-risk category.

Texas receives regular allocations of two different monoclonal antibody therapies from the federal government. The allocations can be administered to nursing and other health care facilities. The administrators of these facilities can work with their HHSC regional director or director of survey operations to obtain a quicker delivery of the antibodies.

In order to participate, facilities must complete a survey to express their interest in being allocated monoclonal antibody treatments. A facility's National Provider Identifier (NPI) and Pharmacy License numbers are required to complete the survey.

The survey is not for a vaccine. Those interested in registering as a COVID-19 vaccine provider can register here.

As of Nov. 24, the federal government began allocating bamlanivimab to facilities other than acute care hospitals and their associated facilities, DSHA says. Allocations of casirivimab/imdevimab are currently restricted to acute care hospitals but will be expanded to non-hospital facilities at a future date, the agency added.

Acute care hospitals are automatically eligible for allocation of the monoclonal antibodies and do not need to complete the survey.