When the pandemic first began, there were no specific treatments for COVID-19. Healthcare professionals did their best to combat the virus with the available knowledge and tools. Often, there was little that could be done and deadly complications developed in tens of thousands of people. Since that time, the Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to several monoclonal antibody therapies as a treatment for COVID-19. Monoclonal antibody therapy helps prevent severe symptoms from developing in people who are at high risk. The virus can be deadly for the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. Monoclonal antibody therapy is recommended for use in people newly infected with COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, are among the most promising treatments for mild to moderate infections.
How does it work?
Our bodies naturally make antibodies to fight infection. However, some people may not have antibodies that recognize a new virus like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a laboratory to fight a particular infection— in this case, SARS-CoV-2. The treatment should be started soon after a positive test and within 10 days of symptom onset. The mAbs are usually given via an infusion or injections. Depending on the type of mAbs treatment, the process may take about 2 to 3 hours.
Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 is different from a COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine triggers the body’s natural immune response, but it can take weeks to develop enough antibodies and prevent some kinds of infection. However, if a person already has the virus, the treatment gives their body the antibodies it needs to defend itself. This helps prevent an infected person from becoming more ill and developing life-threatening symptoms such as pneumonia. Some early studies suggest that mAb treatment can reduce the amount of the virus in a person’s system.
Currently, three anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAb products have received Emergency Use Authorizations from the FDA for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in nonhospitalized people with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections who are at high risk for severe illness and/or hospitalization. The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel recommends using one of the following mAb products (listed alphabetically and not in order of preference):
- Bamlanivimab 700 mg plus etesevimab 1,400 mg administered as an intravenous (IV) infusion in regions where the combined frequency of potentially resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants is low. Refer to the FDA list for Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab Authorized States, Territories, and U.S. Jurisdictions
- Casirivimab 600 mg plus imdevimab 600 mg administered as an IV infusion or as subcutaneous injections
- Sotrovimab 500 mg administered as an IV infusion
Turenne PharMedCo Pharmacy Services has monoclonal antibody treatments available. Contact us at 866-710-7626 to learn more.