January 15, 2021

Use of Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for Treatment of COVID-19

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States, investigational treatment to help lessen the effects of the virus continue to be sought after. One of those treatments is the use of monoclonal antibodies, also referred to as mAbs. The use of mAbs has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The use of mAbs is still considered to be in an investigational state, but the results thus far are promising. "Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 has shown a reduction in COVID-19 related hospitalizations or emergency room visits for patients at high risk for disease progression,” said Valerie Allusson, M.D., chief medical officer at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center.

Monoclonal antibodies show promise as an antibody treatment for adults who are considered to be at high-risk of hospitalization after testing positive for COVID-19. But, what exactly are monoclonal antibodies? MAbs are antibodies that are produced in a laboratory that are made to mimic a response from your immune system.

There are currently two types of mAbs approved for EUA: Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab + Imdevimad. Bamlanivimab was created to stop the virus from attaching to human cells, which in turn stops the virus from further infecting the body. Casirivimab + Imdevimad binds to the virus receptors which neutralizes them and decreases the effectiveness of the virus to infect the body. Both of these mAb’s are given via infusion. Bamlanivimab is administered alone and Casirivimab + Imdevimad are given in one infusion. Each infusion takes an hour to administer and is followed by an hour of monitoring to ensure no reaction. As of now, there is no data available that supports whether one mAb treatment is preferred over the other.

While the use of mAbs are a promising therapy for COVID-19, there are some drawbacks when it comes to the timeline of being administered the mAb. To be eligible to receive a mAb infusion, patients have to have a COVID-19 positive test and must have a high-risk condition that poses the threat of hospitalization with the contraction of COVID-19. “The strict criteria to receive this treatment requires a physician to make this assessment,” said Dr. Allusson.

If you meet the criteria to receive the drug, it has to be administered within 10 days of showing COVID-19 symptoms. While this is the timeframe that the FDA recommends, Eli Lilly's clinical trial administered the mAb’s within four days of symptoms. The patient must also not already be hospitalized due to COVID-19 to receive treatment. "Getting a qualified patient the treatment in a timely manner is pivotal in disease management," said Dr. Allusson.

If you feel you may be a candidate for monoclonal antibody therapy, speak to a Mountainside Medical Group physician or your primary care provider for evaluation and referral for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy at Mountainside. Visit www.mountainsidedocs.com to schedule your virtual appointment.


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