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COVID-19 patient gives ‘BAM’ two thumbs up

On Monday, Jan Barnes was back at work at Troy University.

She was experiencing the slightest degree of brain fog but maybe, instead, her brain was simply clouded with thankfulness.

Barnes, who has a suppressed immune system, was among the first COVID-19 patients at Troy Regional Medical Center to receive the drug Bamlanivimab or BAM which has received emergency clearance to be used to fight COVID-19 in qualifying high-risk patients.

She was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, Jan. 25, received the BAM infusion on Tuesday, January 26 and was back at work on Feb. 8.

“When I walked out of TRMC after having received the infusion, I was so relieved. It was like the weight of worry had been lifted off me,” Barnes said. “I knew the antibodies were fighting for me when I couldn’t fight for myself.”

By on-line chance, Barnes had heard about the drug Bamlanivimab so, when she was diagnosed with COVID-19, she immediately asked her physician about the drug. He prescribed the drug for her and the next day, she received the infusion and was able to avoid the potential need for hospitalization.

She had no reservations about the drug and felt safe in its administration.

“I went into a secure location at the hospital and was hooked up to an IV,” Barnes said. “The infusion of antibodies took about an hour and I stayed another hour for observation and the nurse went over any side effects that I might have. Then I drove home.”

Barnes said she didn’t leave her house until the due time and had no side effects other than the lack of taste and smell and some minor flu-like symptoms.

“I don’t know how COVID-19 would have affected me if I had not had the BAM drug,” she said. “I don’t want to even think about that. I’m just so thankful for the drug and that it is available to others who have underlying health issues that could put them in the hospital if they contracted COVID-19. The BAM drug is a game changer in this fight against COVID-19 and I would encourage anyone who qualifies for BAM to take advantage of it.”

Barnes said she has to wait 90 days before taking the COVID-19 vaccine. And, she will be there with her sleeve rolled up.

“Nobody has been more careful than I have,” she said. “I wear a mask, keep social distance, sanitize, everything I can do, yet I got the virus. I’m so thankful that TRMC has the BAM drug. It’s the reason that I’m here at work today, not in a hospital bed.”