What is monoclonal antibody therapy?
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system. Monoclonal antibodies are designed to block viruses by not allowing them to attach and enter human cells, thus neutralizing the virus. Monoclonal antibodies may be effective for the treatment of COVID-19 patients who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. These treatments are allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) while clinical studies continue to look at their usefulness and safety. Recently the FDA approved the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat certain high-risk adult and pediatric patients who have been exposed to COVID-19. This treatment method is known as post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP.
When administered to non-hospitalized patients as soon as possible after testing positive for COVID-19 and within 10 days of symptom onset, monoclonal antibody therapy may reduce symptoms and risk of hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with COVID-19. Additional information on monoclonal antibody therapy can be found at the US Department of Health and Human Services' Combating COVID website.