MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new type of therapy drug that has shown promising results for a certain subset of COVID-19 patients is now available in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, state health officials announced that the new drug, bamlanivimab, will be used for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 cases in the state. It is only available for people who are at high risk for severe disease, but are not currently hospitalized or need oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.

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“In a clinical trial studying bamlanivimab in adult patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who were not hospitalized, the treatment was shown to decrease the need for hospitalizations and emergency department visits and to decrease the amount of virus as measured in the patient through molecular testing of the upper respiratory tract,” the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said in a statement.

MDH officials say in order to use the treatment, people should get tested as soon as possible if they become ill and reach out to their health care provider immediately if they receive a positive test.

“Supplies will be limited at this point, but this therapy provides an additional option to help limit the impacts of this serious disease,” Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist and medical director for MDH, said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently started distributing the limited supply of the antibody treatment and is expected to continue weekly shipments to health care facilities at least until the end of the year. The state says the initial shipment is 2,400 doses.

More information on therapeutic options for COVID-19 can be found here.

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