COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

Monoclonal antibody treatment is recommended for some people who have tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently three available treatments:

  1. REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together)
  2. Bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together
  3. Sotrovimab

These treatments are authorized 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.

Monoclonal antibody treatments may be suitable for COVID-19 positive individuals who:

  • have mild to moderate symptoms
  • do not require hospitalization
  • have a risk factor(s) for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization

Treatments must be given within 10 days of developing symptoms.

Antibodies are proteins that a person’s body produces to fight viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies created in a laboratory act like natural antibodies to limit the amount of virus in the body.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) so you can help protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your community.

General Questions

What are monoclonal antibodies?
  • Monoclonal antibodies are man-made antibodies produced in a laboratory to mimic the immune system’s ability to fight disease.
  • These medications work by blocking the virus from attaching to human cells stopping it from causing further infection.
What are the monoclonal antibodies currently available for COVID-19 treatment?
  • REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together)
  • Bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together
  • Sotrovimab
Are any monoclonal antibody treatments FDA approved?
  • No, monoclonal antibody treatments have been granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
  • They are still considered investigational treatment.
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
  • This is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of an unapproved product or unapproved uses of an approved product for emergency use.
  • EUA is NOT the same as FDA approval.
  • EUA medications are considered investigational.
How are monoclonal antibody treatments given?
  • Monoclonal antibodies are given into a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion.
  • REGEN-COV may be given either IV or as a subcutaneous injection.
  • They may only be administered in settings where health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat any hypersensitivity or infusion related reactions and where emergency medical systems are available or the ability to activate the emergency medical system, if needed.
Are children eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatment?
  • Children aged 12 and up with a positive COVID-19 test, who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 disease and/or hospitalization are eligible for all three available treatments.
  • Children under the age of 12, including neonates, who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 disease and/or hospitalization are eligible only for Bamlanivimab and etesevimab
Can these treatments prevent COVID-19 infection?
  • REGEN-COV (casirivimab + Imdevimab) and bamlanivmab plus etesevimab can be used preventively after an exposure to an infected individual.
  • Preventative use is limited to immunocompromised or unvaccinated patients who are at high risk of severe COVID disease.
  • At this time, due to high caseloads and limited supplies, monoclonal antibodies are being prioritized for treatment of those who have COVID-19 disease.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination remains the best way for individuals to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Are monoclonal antibody treatments effective against the ongoing variants?
  • Circulating variants may be associated with some resistance to treatments.
  • The delta variant is the most prevalent variant currently circulating in the United States and New Mexico. All three monoclonal antibody treatments are expected to retain activity against the delta variant.
  • The CDC and New Mexico Department of Health routinely review the regional and state antiviral resistance data. Only monoclonal antibody treatments that are considered effective will be available for administration.
How many New Mexicans have received monoclonal antibodies so far?
  • Approximately 8,600 people in New Mexico have been treated with monoclonal antibodies from 9/8/21 through 11/24/21. Many more have received treatment prior to that time frame.

Before Treatment

How do I find a location that is offering monoclonal antibody treatment?
  • If you are being treated by a healthcare provider for COVID-19, please discuss treatment with them.
  • If you are not being treated by a healthcare provider but have tested positive for COVID-19, contact the hospital in your community to inquire about treatment or use the COVID-19 Infusion Site Locator: 

When prompted, click on “Allow Location Access” to let the locator find a location near you or enter your zip code in the search box.

Is there a cost for receiving monoclonal antibody treatment?
  • There may be some costs associated with the treatment. Patients should talk to their provider regarding the cost of treatment and available coverage options.
  • There is no cost to the patient for the medication itself.
  • Costs associated with providing the treatment may be billed to the patient’s insurance or to Medicare/Medicaid.
  • Uninsured or underinsured patients can have providers bill treatment costs to the HHS COVID-19 Uninsured Program or Coverage Assistance Fund.
Do I need a referral from my healthcare provider to receive a monoclonal antibody treatment?

The need for a referral differs for each facility providing treatment. Information about the requirements for infusion services may be available through the COVID-19 Infusion Site Locator or by calling a hospital or infusion center in your community.

Do I need monoclonal antibody treatment?

Talk to your provider if you are considered high risk for severe COVID-19 disease.

Patients must be high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 disease or hospitalization to be eligible. The following medical conditions or other factors place you at increased risk:

    • Older age (for example age ≥65 years of age)
    • <1 year old
    • Obesity or being overweight
    • Pregnancy
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Immunosuppressive disease
    • Immunosuppressive treatment
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Hypertension
    • Chronic Lung disease
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Neurodevelopmental disorders (i.e. cerebral palsy)
    • Conditions that confer medical complexity (i.e. genetic or metabolic syndromes or congenital anomalies)
    • Medical related technological dependence not related to COVID-19 (i.e. tracheostomy or gastrostomy)
Do I need this treatment if I do not feel very sick from COVID-19?

Early treatment of COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies is beneficial for people who are at high risk of hospitalization, to prevent symptoms from worsening.

Why should I receive a monoclonal antibody if I’m eligible?

Clinical trials for monoclonal antibodies have shown that patients who receive the treatment are at least 70% less likely to be hospitalized or go to the emergency room, and there is a decrease in the amount of virus in an infected person’s blood. Studies are still ongoing.

If I meet the criteria, how soon should I receive one of these treatments?

As soon as possible but within 10 days of COVID-19 symptoms.

Are there reasons I cannot receive monoclonal antibody treatment?
  • You will not receive this treatment if you have a new or increased need for supplemental oxygen due to COVID-19.
  • You have a history of anaphylaxis to the monoclonal antibody or any of the excipients in the formulation.
  • Please view the information provided by in the links below for more information about these treatments and their benefits and side effects: 

Can I receive monoclonal antibody treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Pregnant women are eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatment. Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Women should ask their obstetrician about receiving a monoclonal antibody treatment.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, breastfeeding mothers may receive monoclonal antibody treatment and may continue to breastfeed.

If I get admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, can I receive monoclonal antibody treatment?
  • No, this treatment is not appropriate for patients that are hospitalized due to COVID-19. There is no benefit from this treatment if you have severe COVID-19 or have already been hospitalized because of COVID-19.
  • Other COVID-19 treatments are available for patients who require hospitalization
I was diagnosed with COVID-19 after receiving my COVID-19 vaccine. Should I get a monoclonal antibody treatment?

According to the CDC, individuals at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease who are diagnosed with COVID-19 after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remain candidates for  monoclonal antibody treatments.

How do I find a location offering monoclonal antibody treatments?

  • If you are being treated by a healthcare provider for COVID-19, please discuss treatment with them.
  • If you do not have a provider and are positive for COVID-19, contact the hospital in your community to inquire about treatment or use the COVID-19 Infusion Site Locator:  

Providers: Claim, Add or Edit Your Infusion Center

During Treatment

Does monoclonal antibody treatment have side effects?
  • Monoclonal antibody treatments can cause allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis and infusion or injection-related reactions.
  • If you receive this treatment, you will be monitored during, and for a minimum of one hour following, the infusion or injection for adverse events
  • Rash, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and itching have also been reported.
  • Injection site reactions such as bruising, and redness have been reported with clients who received subcutaneous administration
  • Please view the links below for more information about these treatments and their benefits and side effects:

How long is the treatment?
  • An infusion may take up to one hour, after which you will be observed for reactions for at least one hour. 
  • The subcutaneous injection takes only seconds, after which you will be observed for reactions for at least one hour.

After Treatment

What happens if I get a reaction after I go home?

After you receive the treatment, you will receive a handout with instructions on what do after you leave, and what to do if any reaction occurs.

If I receive monoclonal antibody treatment, does this mean I won’t get hospitalized?
  • It is still possible that your symptoms could progress so you should follow the recommendations provided to you by the healthcare provider who gave you the treatment and your own provider.
I received a monoclonal antibody treatment. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Patients who have received a monoclonal antibody should delay COVID-19 vaccination for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure to avoid potential interference of the treatment with the vaccine.

Vaccines have proven to be the best defense available against COVID-19. The FDA urges the public to get vaccinated if eligible. Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.

If I received a monoclonal antibody treatment, do I still need to quarantine?

It is important to continue following federal and state guidelines on quarantining as COVID-19 positive and wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands.

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