As the Delta variant sweeps through our communities and the number of COVID-19 infections rises, being aware of the treatment options that can keep you safer should you or someone in your family become infected.
We worked with Rebecca Curran, MD, PhD, family medicine doctor and epidemiologist with Lourdes Physician Group, to develop this FAQ about monoclonal antibody treatment, which has been available in Louisiana and Mississippi since December 2020. This lifesaving therapy is available under FDA Emergency Use Authorization to treat COVID-19 in outpatients who are at high risk of getting very sick or needing to be hospitalized.
This therapy works best when given as soon as possible after coronavirus is diagnosed, even if you are feeling okay. It significantly cuts down the risk that your infection will progress to a serious illness.
What Are Monoclonal Antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made versions of antibodies our bodies make naturally to fight invaders, such as the coronavirus. Given by IV in a clinic or hospital, the treatment attacks the coronavirus’ spike protein, making it harder for the virus to attach to and enter our cells. The infusion takes about two hours.
This treatment can prevent hospitalizations, which our health system desperately needs during this fourth pandemic surge.
Who Can Get This Treatment?
To qualify for the treatment, you must be:
- Within 10 days of COVID-19 symptoms starting (or your positive test if you don’t have symptoms), but the sooner the better
- Not sick enough to require extra oxygen or need the hospital
- Weigh at least 88 pounds
- Be at least 12 years old, although patients 18 and older will have an easier time finding the treatment
- Have at least one of the following high-risk conditions: older than 65, overweight (BMI greater than 25), lung disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, immunocompromised state, sickle cell anemia or neurodevelopmental disease
Your doctor can also order this treatment if they feel you have a condition not listed that makes you at high risk of getting very sick.
When Should I Get This Treatment?
Once you test positive for COVID-19, if you are eligible for this treatment, try to get it. The treatment is time sensitive, and the sooner you get it the better. The goal is to prevent a COVID-19 infection from becoming worse.
Also Known As
There are several terms for the same treatment, so you may hear monoclonal antibodies called infusions, therapies, treatments, mAb or by the name brand RegenCOV.
How Can I Get This Treatment?
Please ask the provider who diagnoses you with COVID-19 if this treatment is right for you. If you received a positive result outside of a doctor’s care, contact your primary care provider to discuss this treatment and how you can access it.
In Jackson, Mississippi, you can find this type of treatment at St. Dominic’s Community COVID Treatment Center. Learn more about accessing this treatment in Louisiana on the state’s Department of Health website.