ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — Monoclonal antibody treatments received a thumbs-up from a study by the Mayo Clinic released Monday. The study suggests the treatment can help those who are at high risk of serious COVID-19 because of underlying health issues.
Antibody treatments remain one of a handful of therapies that can blunt the worst effects of COVID-19, and they are the only option available to people with mild-to-moderate cases who aren’t yet in the hospital. The treatments have been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Adminstration.
The main drug in use is Regeneron’s dual-antibody cocktail, which has been purchased in mass quantities by the U.S. government. It’s the same drug former President Donald Trump received when he was hospitalized with COVID-19 last October.
Missouri Dr. Senthil Aruchamy said his hospital will begin doing a monoclonal antibody treatment this week.
Aruchamy said the treatment has lab-created antibodies in it that specifically target the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. The treatments help the patient by supplying concentrated doses of one or two antibodies.
The treatment will be administered to people who have just been exposed or who have tested positive and have mild to moderate illness.
Aruchamy said if it is given to these patients before 10 days of sickness, it has been shown to decrease the likelihood a patient will get severely ill, be hospitalized, or die.
“They are safe, they are free, they keep people out of the hospital and help keep them alive,” said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a senior adviser to the White House’s COVID-19 response team.
Demand for monoclonal antibody treatments has risen in states seeing a spike in infections, including Florida, Louisiana and Texas, where hospitalizations among the unvaccinated are overwhelming the health care system.
The drugs are only recommended for people at the highest risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, but regulators have slowly broadened who can qualify. The list of conditions now includes older age, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy and more than a half-dozen other issues.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.