COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

Monoclonal antibody treatment is recommended for some people who have tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently two available treatments. Casirivimab and imdevimab (also known as Regeneron) must be given together. Bamlanivimab is given alone. 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.

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

  • are aged 12 and over
  • have mild to moderate symptoms
  • do not require hospitalization
  • have a risk factor(s) for hospitalization

Treatments must be given by IV soon after developing symptoms.

Antibodies are proteins that a person’s body makes to fight viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies made in a laboratory act a lot like natural antibodies to limit the amount of virus in the body. The treatments for COVID-19 are a specific type of product called monoclonal antibodies.

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 and therefore stopping it from causing further infection.
What are the monoclonal antibodies currently available for COVID-19 treatment?
  • bamlanivimab
  • casirivimab + imdevimab (also known as Regenron, given together as one treatment)
Are bamlanivimab or casirivimab + imdevimab FDA approved?
  • No, these monoclonal antibody treatments have been granted an 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 treatments.
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 or licensure.
  • EUA medications are considered investigational.
How are the treatments given?
  • They are given into a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion.
  • They may be administered only in settings where health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat any reactions and where emergency medical systems are available, if needed.
Is one treatment better than another?
  • There is no data to show that one EUA COVID-19 monoclonal antibody is better than the other.
  • Both treatments are intravenous infusions and casirivimab + imdevimab (Regeneron) are given together in one infusion.
How many New Mexicans have received these treatments so far?
  • More than 1,750 people in New Mexico have been treated with bamlanivimab as of late January.
  • More than 260 people in New Mexico have been treated with casirivimab + imdevimab (Regeneron) as of late January.
Will these treatments protect me from COVID-19 if I do not have the infection?

No, these treatments are not for prevention of COVID-19 infection, only for treatment for those who test positive for the virus and meet the criteria listed above.

Before Treatment

How do I find a location that is offering these treatments?
  • 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:

https://covid.infusioncenter.org 

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 these treatments?
  • There is no cost to the patient for the medication itself.
  • The other costs associated with providing the treatment will be billed to the patient’s insurance or to Medicare/Medicaid.
Do I need a referral from my healthcare provider to receive one of these treatments?

The need for a referral differs between the hospitals providing the treatment. Information about the requirements for infusion services is available through the COVID-19 Infusion Site Locator or by calling a hospital in your community.

Do I need one of these treatments?

There are certain criterial that you must meet in order to receive treatment:

  • You must have had a positive COVID-19 test
  • You must have had mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms for less than 10 days
  • You must be age 12 or older
  • You must weigh at least 88 pounds
  • You need to be at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 disease or hospitalization because of one (or more) of the following criteria:
    • Obesity with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Immunosuppressive disease
    • Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
    • ≥65 years of age
    • ≥55 years of age AND have
      • Cardiovascular disease or
      • Hypertension or
      • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease
Do I need one of these treatments 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 take one of these treatments?

Clinical trials for monoclonal antibodies have shown that patients who receive the treatment are about 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.

Which treatment will I receive?

Because the two medications work in similar ways, you will receive one of the two treatments based on availability at your treatment center.

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

https://combatcovid.hhs.gov/i-have-covid-19-now/monoclonal-antibodies-high-risk-covid-19-positive-patients 

https://combatecovid.hhs.gov/tengo-covid-19/los-anticuerpos-monoclonales-para-los-pacientes-de-alto-riesgo-que-tienen-la-covid 

Can I receive one of these treatments if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • We do not know yet if it is safe to use the antibody treatment while pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their doctor or other health care provider.
  • There is no available data on the presence of lab-made antibodies in human or animal milk, the effects on breastfed infants, or the effects on milk production.
  • Consult the CDC website for more information: CDC: Considerations for Newborns and Breastfeeding
If I get admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, can I receive one of these treatments?
  • No, these treatments are not appropriate for patients that are hospitalized because of COVID-19. You will not benefit from these treatments 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 first COVID-19 vaccine. Should I get a monoclonal antibody treatment?

According to the CDC, individuals who develop COVID-19 after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remain candidates for  monoclonal antibody treatments and should consider timing of such treatments in consultation with their healthcare provider.

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: https://covid.infusioncenter.org  

Providers: Claim, Add or Edit Your Infusion Center

During Treatment

Do these treatments have side effects?
  • Monoclonal antibody treatments can cause allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis and infusion-related reactions.
  • If you receive these treatments, you will be monitored during, and for a minimum of one hour following, the infusion for adverse events
  • Please view the links below for more information about these treatments and their benefits and side effects:

https://combatcovid.hhs.gov/i-have-covid-19-now/monoclonal-antibodies-high-risk-covid-19-positive-patients 

https://combatecovid.hhs.gov/tengo-covid-19/los-anticuerpos-monoclonales-para-los-pacientes-de-alto-riesgo-que-tienen-la-covid 

How long is the infusion?

The infusion is given over one hour, 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 infusion you will receive a handout with instructions on what do after you leave, and what to do if any reaction occurs.

If I receive one of these treatments, 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 infusion and your own provider.
  • 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.
I received a monoclonal antibody treatment. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

According to the CDC, there are no data on the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in persons who received monoclonal antibody treatment.

Based on the estimated half-life of the treatments as well as evidence suggesting COVID-19 reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure to avoid potential interference of the treatment with the vaccine.

This recommendation applies to individuals who receive monoclonal antibody treatment before receiving any vaccine doses as well as those who are treated after the first dose but before the second dose, in which case the second dose should be deferred for at least 90 days.

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