The Latest in COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

COVID-19 varients and breakthrough cases are placing therapeutics back in the national spotlight. Monoclonal antibody therapies (mAbs) have received particular attention as they increasingly receive FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) and government endorsement. Four treatments, in particular, are being used: Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab, Regen-Cov, and Sotrovimab.

However, mAbs has also been shrouded in controversy due to ongoing political partisanship and recent state and federal distribution clashes. It’s crucial to break through the noise surrounding antibody therapy so that you and your loved ones can make good choices regarding their use. 

Capitalizing on Existing Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Research


Monoclonal antibody therapies are not a new phenomenon. Antibody therapy has been used to fight other illnesses since the 1970s, including past coronavirus variations. These antibodies are created in labs to mimic the ones our bodies produce in response to different diseases; giving patients these artificial antibodies can speed up their recovery by cutting down on the time it takes their bodies to create resistance to a virus naturally. 

Before the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine, many scientists turned their attention to monoclonal antibody therapy as a potential therapeutic for the virus. By late 2020 a variety of antibody cocktails were in productions, with several available for clinical trials. What made–and continues to make–them a valuable tool in fighting the pandemic is that monoclonal antibody therapy slows the progression of the disease when given early on, reducing hospitalization and death. 

Cutting through the Politics


Antibody therapy made it on the map when former President Trump credited them with his rapid recovery from COVID-19 in October of 2020. His endorsement immediately set off a firestorm of criticism, especially in light of his erroneous reference to monoclonal antibody therapy as a “cure” for the disease. His involvement seems to have dampened the push for antibody treatment, though by mid-2021 it was once more trending. President Biden and Dr. Anthony Faucci both endorsed mAbs, with the latter saying it was an “underutilized intervention” in August. 

However, by September, controversy returned as the Biden administration appeared to take issue with monoclonal antibody use in blue states. These states, such as Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, had higher unvaccinated populations and were leaning heavily into monoclonal antibody therapy to combat COVID-19 surges. In September, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the distribution of monoclonal treatment per state would be determined weekly and that they would ensure that treatments were allocated equitably. The supply would be available to all states, rather than just some. At this time, battle lines continue to be drawn, with both sides agreeing that mAbs are essential but disagreeing on who should have what kinds of access to the national supply.

The crux of the controversy seems to be in whether people are using antibody therapy as a replacement for vaccination. While mAbs are administered to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, the National Institute for Health and other medical bodies stress that vaccination provides greater protection from contracting the virus in the first place and results in lighter cases of COVID-19 should a breakthrough occur. 

Choosing Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

The bottom line regarding antibody treatment for COVID-19 is that the therapy has a long history of success and continues to maintain a proven track record for the pandemic, making it a valuable option for those exposed to or experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, especially those with preexisting conditions that put them at high-risk. Administered within ten days of exposure or symptoms, they can reduce symptoms, hospitalization, and death. 

Those who need access to mAbs can find monoclonal antibody treatment sites through the US Department of Health and Human Services website or through local organizations. Cost should not be a consideration when choosing to get antibody treatment: these therapies are subsidized by the government, making them accessible to all patients. They can also be provided at home through initiatives like mAbs at Home, allowing patients to remain safely and comfortably at home while receiving treatment. 

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