What is Monoclonal Antibody IV Therapy for Covid-19?
Monoclonal Antibodies are laboratory-derived antibodies that are produced to magnify, mimic or modify the body’s immune response to diseases. It is an advanced form of therapy that specifically engineers antibodies to combat specific diseases. Monoclonal antibody IV therapy for COVID-19 is given intravenously.
In the fight against COVID-19 various treatment modalities have been used and only recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of IV monoclonal Antibodies in combating susceptible strains of the infection.
The use of IV Monoclonal Antibodies therapy is one of the available forms of treatment used in the management of COVID-19 cases according to the CDC guidelines and only health facilities that can have facilities for monitoring and resuscitation in case of adverse reactions can administer the infusion. The healthcare team at St Andrew’s is equipped to administer this form of therapy.
Monoclonal Antibody therapy has been seen to offer the following benefits in the management of COVID-19
Reduces COVID-19 Viral Load, Hospitalization, and Deaths
Once a virus infects its host, it then begins to multiply with the host. As it continues to replicate, the load begins to increase in the system eventually overwhelming the host. Monoclonal antibody therapy disrupts this process by preventing the virus from binding to the cells to gain entry. These laboratory-engineered proteins recognize a protein on the virus and bind to them interfering with the entry process.
A reduction in the viral load gives the body’s immune system ample time and support to combat the virus. The outcome of this is a reduction in the severity of Covid-19 symptoms, which helps prevent hospitalizations and the number of deaths from COVID-19. When given early, it has been found to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by close to 60%.
Reduces the Risk of Death Among Patients Hospitalized with Severe COVID-19
Monoclonal Antibodies have been found to reduce the risk of death among hospitalized high-risk patients when instituted early. A combination of monoclonal antibodies has been found to reduce death by about 78% in high-risk patients who have trouble producing antibodies themselves.
By attacking the viral spike proteins and preventing the virus from replicating within the patient, and preventing their entry. Two monoclonal infusion therapies were approved for use by the FDA in January 2022.
These drugs are particularly useful in patients who have been hospitalized for severe COVID-19 and is in any of these categories:
- 65 years or older
- Obese patients
- Pregnant patients
- Patients with Chronic Kidney disease
- Patients with Diabetes Mellitus
- Patients with Sickle cell disease
- Patients with Cardiovascular disease
Reduces Deaths and Hospitalizations in Non-Hospitalized Patients with Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19
Monoclonal antibodies infusion therapy is also efficient in preventing complications that tend to arise from COVID-19 infection in non-hospitalized patients with risk factors to develop the severe form of the disease. It reduces the risk of hospitalization by about three times in elderly patients. These people were also least likely to die from COVID-19 in the following month.
Treatment is more beneficial when commenced early usually within 10 days of onset of symptoms. FDA-approved monoclonal antibodies are effective for reducing the risk of hospitalization or death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19.
Who Can Administer the Monoclonal Antibody Infusion?
This form of therapy can only be administered where interprofessional health care can be given. The team should include clinicians, nurses, virologists, and another member of the care team. A similar service is provided at St Andrews medical center where the provider must be able to adequately recognize at-risk patients who are likely to have progression to a severe infection.
The team should also be involved in the monitoring of patients for possible adverse events that can be associated with the infusion therapy and offer prompt management if it occurs.
Healthcare providers must also be knowledgeable about the resistance of some COVID-19 variants and follow the guide given by the CDC on the management of such cases.
One of the services offered by St Andrews medical center includes monoclonal IV therapy for COVID-19. We have a competent medical team available on the ground to administer the infusion and our facility meets the FDA criteria for use of the Monoclonal antibody therapy. Appointments can be booked on our website at any of our four locations.
How Does One Become Eligible for This therapy?
- A positive COVID-19 test using PCR or Antigen test
- Mild-moderate symptoms under 8 days
- 65 years and above
- Non-hospitalized patients 12years or above, weighing more than 40 kg with any of the risk factors to developing severe disease.
Is the Monoclonal Antibody IV Therapy Effective Against the Omicron Variant?
The FDA recently issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for treatment against the omicron variant. The drug bebtelovimab is authorized for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 infection for people at risk of having severe disease. This is due to studies that have shown it to have activity against the omicron variant.
What Are the Side Effects of a Monoclonal Antibody Infusion for COVID-19?
The side effects from the covid infusion therapy may include reaction at the injection sites, muscle soreness, or swelling. Other reported side effects reported include nausea, vomiting diarrhea, headache, skin rash, and sore throat.
There is the attendant risk of severe allergic reactions that can happen with intravenous injections. Therapy is to be received in a center where adequate monitoring and intervention can be done.