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Small Device Has Big Implications for COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Mar 2021
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Image: DripAssist (Photo courtesy of Hometa)
Image: DripAssist (Photo courtesy of Hometa)
A small, simple device has given new viability to the modality of gravity infusion for administering monoclonal antibody therapies to COVID-19 patients.

Hometa’s (Albany, NY, USA) DripAssist Supplemental Infusion Rate Monitor offers a new middle ground between the simplicity of gravity infusion and the assuredness of a pump to ensure monitoring and control while delivering monoclonal COVID-19 antibody therapies.

Monoclonal antibodies (abbreviated as mAbs) have been making headlines since Eli Lilly and Company’s Bamlanivimab and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (Tarrytown, NY, USA) Casirivimab/Imdevimab received EUA to treat mild-moderate COVID-19 in November 2020. Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab/Imdevimab are both single infusions, to be administered at a constant rate for the entirety of treatment. Both the Eli Lilly and Regeneron Fact Sheets for Health Care Providers note that their monoclonal antibody therapies can be administered "via pump or gravity." With the influx of patients in need of these therapies, and with Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab/Imdevimab being good candidates for gravity infusion due to their fixed rates of administration, the industry at large is starting to see these mAbs given by gravity. Not only is gravity infusion infinitely cheaper than pump infusion, but gravity IV sets are much more readily available where supply is concerned.

All infusion modalities, whether it be pump or gravity, must achieve two functionalities; monitoring and control. The control mechanism on a gravity IV set is usually a roller clamp or dial-a-flow. The monitoring, however, can be a bit more cumbersome; clinicians must often treat multiple patients simultaneously, only checking their gravity infusions periodically to recalculate flow rate and check for occlusion. These intermittent checks can be overwhelming for both clinician and patient. The DripAssist Supplemental Infusion Rate Monitor offers a new middle ground between the simplicity of gravity infusion, and the assuredness of a pump. DripAssist secures to the drip chamber of an IV set and counts drops with 99% accuracy using an infrared sensor. The device can be toggled to display mL/hr, dp/m, or total volume infused and has an alert that will sound when the rate of flow deviates +/-13% of the rate at which it was activated. DripAssist will operate continuously for 270 hours on a single AA battery, making it especially viable in an emergency like a power outage or pump supply shortage, as well as in austere/pop-up medical clinics.

Although COVID-19 therapies like Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab/Imdevimab are somewhat new and intended to be delivered with the utmost discretion, their relatively basic dosing and administration instructions make them prime candidates for gravity infusion; a fortunate circumstance given the current demand. DripAssist, albeit a small, simple device, has given new viability to gravity infusion when patients and providers needed it most.

Related Links:
Eli Lilly and Company
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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