Monoclonal Antibody Therapy: What You Need to Know
Last Updated: Dec. 28, 2021
Monoclonal antibody therapy is a treatment approved in late 2020 for mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. Understanding some of the intricacies of the monoclonal antibody therapy is important - including early indications that current monoclonal antibodies may be less effective against the omicron variant than against previous variants, but research is ongoing.
What is this Treatment?
The monoclonal antibody therapy received emergency use authorization from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2020 after proving to be an effective treatment to help prevent severe progression of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death, in patients with mild to moderate cases.
How Does it Work?
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. The therapy contains monoclonal antibodies that bind to a portion of the coronavirus spike protein and block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.
Who can Benefit from the Treatment?
This treatment has proven effective in adult and pediatric individuals (12 years old and older) with mild to moderate COVID symptoms who may be at high risk of serious complications from the virus and are in the early stages of infection. Individuals qualified for this treatment must be COVID positive, weigh at least 88 pounds, have certain medical conditions or are considered high-risk by their provider.
How is it Administered?
Monoclonal antibodies are mostly administered via intravenous (IV) infusion. Some health care sites administer the treatment through a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. This therapy is considered most effective for non-hospitalized patients in the early stages of COVID-19.
How to Get This Treatment?
If you don’t need emergency care, the state of Florida’s COVID-19 Response web page provides a listing of locations that are administering monoclonal antibody therapy. Find state-run therapy sites as well as other providers here: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/
If you are seeking treatment for an emergency medical condition, please visit an emergency room. At a BayCare emergency room, you will receive an evaluation and be referred to a community partner site to receive the monoclonal antibody therapy.
For COVID-19 resources and updates, visit BayCare.org/Coronavirus.