New medications and treatments for COVID-19 are popping up regularly. With new variants and the continued spread of the coronavirus, it remains extremely important to practice good hand hygiene, wear a mask, and get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.
At this point, vaccines against COVID-19 have been administered to billions of people across the world and are safe and effective. The treatments currently being used in the hospital setting are far more experimental compared to the vaccine. Some COVID-19 vaccines have received full FDA-approval for use in the US. So, get vaccinated if you haven’t already.
A more recent, promising development for the treatment of COVID-19 is monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory produced and act in the body like your immune system would. They help fight off the virus that causes COVID-19 and make it more difficult for the virus to reproduce in your body and cause harm. They may even neutralize the virus. Monoclonal antibodies are being used to fight COVID in both the outpatient and inpatient settings.
The monoclonal antibodies discussed in this blog are being used for people who are not sick enough to need hospitalization but are feeling sick and need to prevent getting sicker from COVID-19 (mild to moderate illness). There is a different monoclonal antibody being used in the inpatient (hospital) setting, which is not discussed here.
The monoclonal antibody treatments have not received full FDA-approval yet but are authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Two different monoclonal antibody combinations have received an EUA for preventing COVID hospitalization and severe disease in people who have tested positive for COVID-19. These include REGEN-COV (casirivimab with imdevimab) and bamlanivimab with etesevimab. These specific combinations are not to be used in people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 or people requiring new or increased oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. REGEN-COV is also authorized under the EUA for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are high risk for complications (including adults and kids 12+ years).
If you have tested positive for COVID or have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and are at high risk for hospitalization or severe disease, you may be eligible to receive a monoclonal antibody to prevent disease progression. Contact your health care provider if you’re wondering where to go or what to do. There are also some online resources with more information and call center phone numbers in English and Spanish for any questions you may have. See resources 1 & 2 below.