Mount Druitt Hospital is one of the locations delivering a new monoclonal antibody treatment, Sotrovimab, for people with COVID-19, who are at the greatest risk of severe illness.
The STOPS – or Sotrovimab Treatment in an Outpatient Setting – clinic is for COVID-19 patients being managed in the community by Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).
A key international trial of this monoclonal antibody treatment, has shown a reduction in hospitalisation in adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19.
Sotrovimab was provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in August this year. NSW Health has worked with the Commonwealth to access some supply of this ground-breaking drug for NSW patients.
WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy said the STOPS clinic offers western Sydney a new way of treating COVID-19 for the most vulnerable in the community.
“Western Sydney has taken up COVID-19 vaccination in record numbers and similar to how vaccination reduces hospitalisation and death, this treatment for our vulnerable COVID positive patients helps us prevent hospitalisation and illness progression,” said Mr Loy.
“I’m proud of how the team at Mount Druitt Hospital responded so quickly to get the STOPS clinic established to deliver this vital treatment to community members with COVID.”
51-year-old Catherine Dennis was the first patient to receive the new, potentially-lifesaving treatment at the STOPS clinic in Mount Druitt Hospital.
“When I was diagnosed (with COVID-19), I was scared I was going to die. I no longer have this fear,” the Mount Druitt resident whose family has also been diagnosed with COVID said.
“I have diabetes and heart problems and I am also an Aboriginal woman. I was at risk of ending up in hospital but now that I’ve had this treatment, I’m feeling uplifted.”
Acting deputy director of nursing at Mount Druitt Hospital Kirsty Wallis said the clinic is vital for keeping at-risk COVID patients off ventilators and out of our hospitals.
“The Mount Druitt community has a high Aboriginal population and also a high percentage of people with extra risk factors,” Ms Wallis said.
To be eligible for the Sotrovimab treatment, patients must have had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 5 days, be aged over 55, have one or more risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, or moderate-to-severe asthma and are being managed in the community.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with COVID aged 35 or older are also eligible.
COVID-19 patients are triaged by nurses based on clinical need after their diagnosis.