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Some Colorado hospitals using lottery system to pick patients for experimental COVID-19 treatment

Colorado has about 3,000 doses of Bamlanivimab, also known as “Bam Bam,” an experimental drug that the FDA says may help keep COVID-19 symptoms mild.

COLORADO, USA — With a limited supply of Bamlanivimab, or "Bam Bam," an experimental COVID-19 treatment, Colorado hospitals are using a lottery system to decide who will get a dose.

“Typically, the patients who qualify have to meet all of the requirements, which are comorbidities like diabetes, or heart disease, or over the age of 65,” Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth, said.

The monoclonal antibody, which is administered as an IV to people recently diagnosed with COVID-19, may help prevent patients from getting severe symptoms.

UCHealth received about 650 of the state’s about 3,000 Bamlanivimab doses at the beginning of December.

For perspective, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that 3,334 additional people tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec 15-16.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Bamlanivimab in November.

“While the safety and effectiveness of this investigational therapy continues to be evaluated, Bamlanivimab was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo,” according to a release on the FDA’s website.

Denver Health said it also has doses of Bamlanivimab and is similarly using a lottery system to decide who gets it.

Bamlanivimab is available at Banner Health through North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and McKee Medical Center in Loveland, but they could not say how many doses they have and how they are deciding who gets them.

UCHealth has the experimental treatment available at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs and Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.

Patients must have mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms for no more than 10 days, and in most cases, are considered high-risk for being hospitalized, said Barron.

UCHealth could not provide data for how many people have received Bamlanivmad treatments since the hospital's shipment. 

“The patients who have received it seem to do well and haven’t had any complications,” Barron said. “So, it will be a time frame to see how many of those [patients] are able to stay out of the hospital, which is really the goal for this.”

It’s unclear if and when Colorado hospitals will get another shipment of the experimental drug, which is in high demand across the country.

Allocations were made to states based on population and COVID-19 cases, according to UCHealth.

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