There is now a treatment available that can help certain people avoid becoming seriously ill or being hospitalized. It is the treatment or therapy with monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Monoclonal antibodies replace the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is the best way to prevent COVID-19.
Take care of yourself on time
Monoclonal antibody treatment should be received early, early in your illness or shortly after you have been exposed to COVID-19. Such treatment is not for everyone and therefore must be ordered by a doctor or a clinic. Talk to your healthcare professional right away to find out what is best for you. If you don’t have a doctor, call 211 for help choosing one.
How is the treatment with monoclonal antibodies?
Monoclonal antibody treatment is a type of medicine given to someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 or is mildly or moderately ill from COVID-19, but is NOT hospitalized. The treatment is a liquid that is given with a needle, either intravenously or under the skin.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins made in a laboratory and designed to work like the body’s own antibodies (disease-fighting proteins). These proteins adhere to the viral spicules on the outside of the COVID-19 virus (peplomers). This blocks the virus from entering your cells, preventing the infection from spreading before it causes seriousness.
Is this a new treatment?
The use of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for COVID-19 is new, since it is a new virus. But monoclonal antibodies have been tested and used for many years to treat some types of cancer and autoimmune diseases, as well as rabies, Ebola, and more.
Monoclonal antibody treatment works against the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) has authorized monoclonal antibody treatment as emergency use in COVID-19 patients at risk of becoming seriously ill from this virus.
Who can receive monoclonal antibody treatment?
In order to receive treatment in the event of a COVID-19 infection, you must be 12 years of age or older and weighing more than 88 pounds (40 kilograms). What’s more:
- Have tested positive for COVID-19
- Being within the first 10 days after symptoms started
- Have mild or moderate symptoms
- Not being in the hospital because of COVID-19
- Not being under oxygen therapy
- Plus, be considered a patient with high-risk conditions (see below)
High-risk conditions include:
- Any medical condition or other factor, such as race or ethnicity, that puts you at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19
- 65 years of age or older
- Obesity or being overweight
- Certain chronic diseases such as kidney, lung, or heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, or sickle cell anemia
- Illness or treatments that affect your immune response
- Certain neurological or developmental disorders
- Being under technology-dependent medical treatment
What’s in monoclonal antibody treatment?
In addition to the protein antibody, the treatment contains water, sugar, salt and a stabilizer commonly used in food and cosmetics (polysorbate 80), as well as amino acids.
The treatment does not contain egg, pork products, latex, or fetal cells.
Monoclonal antibodies to COVID are covered by the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) and other insurances and therefore would be at little or no cost to you. Clinics sometimes charge to administer treatment, so check with insurance and the clinic itself to see if there will be any charges.
What can be expected from monoclonal antibody treatment?
There are two methods of administering monoclonal antibody treatment. Both are administered with a needle and are done by a trained medical professional. One is by intravenous infusion, the other is subcutaneous (under the skin). The healthcare professional will explain the type to be used for you. For more information on treatment and side effects, see the “After Treatment” page.
How can I get this treatment?
There are many health care providers who offer monoclonal antibody treatment. Call the doctor to see if they have this therapy or if they can refer you for it. In Washington County, you can also call one of these providers:
For more information about monoclonal antibodies
- Visit p. COMBAT COVID from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
- Watch the COMBAT COVID video: video.