CNMI to receive COVID-19 experimental drug

COVID-19 vaccine (file photo)

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation will soon receive a batch of a COVID-19 experimental drug, according to CNMI Delegate Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan.

Sablan announced via social media that the CNMI will receive 10 vials of bamlanivimab, a neutralizing antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients.

The experimental drug received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration last Tuesday.

The authorization allows healthcare providers to administer the drug to non-hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19, who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms and are at high risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization.

Sablan says Congress made nearly $10 billion available through the CARES Act and other emergency funding to support the rapid development of effective medical countermeasures, to combat the coronavirus crisis.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans weekly allocations of the new drug based on the need in each of the states, territories, and freely associated states.

In terms of a COVID-19 vaccine for the territories, just recently, Sablan went on air with K57’s Patti Arroyo to discuss CDC’s plans to distribute vaccines to the CNMI and also Guam.

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“CDC has already announced plans to send out 2000 vaccines — I still think that working with Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA) for the Pacific nations and of course, the three island nations of the Freely Associated States…that would work better because…they can send 2000 vaccines to the Federated States of Micronesia — for example to the Republic of Palau and the Marshall Islands…,” Sablan said.

Sablan emphasizes the importance of working with healthcare organizations such as PIHOA to address the logistical requirements of distributing the vaccines to the community.