Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

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Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for COVID-19

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Monoclonal antibody treatment is a promising therapy that has been shown to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death among people with mild to moderate COVID-19. 

Diagnosed with COVID-19?

Talk with your health care provider to learn if you’re a candidate for monoclonal antibody treatment. A provider order is required.

At Tidelands Health, we were one of the first health systems in South Carolina to offer the treatment. Eligible individuals must be referred for monoclonal antibody treatment by a health care provider.     

What is monoclonal antibody treatment?

Monoclonal antibodies are a promising treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab and work similarly to antibodies your immune system makes to fight infection. Monoclonal antibody treatment helps your body fight COVID-19 while your immune system begins to make its own antibodies. In clinical studies, monoclonal antibody treatments were shown to be safe and effective. 

Who is eligible for the treatment?

The treatment is available to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, have not been admitted to the hospital and are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. Eligible patients must be referred for the treatment by a health care provider. 

When should monoclonal antibody treatment be administered?

Treatment should be started as soon as possible after an individual receives a positive COVID-19 test – and no more than 10 days from the onset of symptoms. 

How does monoclonal antibody treatment work?

After entering your body, monoclonal antibodies attach to the spike protein that sticks out from the coronavirus. The antibodies can block the virus’ ability to enter cells, thus slowing down infection. In clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70 percent reduction in hospitalization and death. 

How is the treatment administered?

Monoclonal antibodies are administered via a one-time IV infusion. The infusion itself will take less than an hour. Patients are observed for an hour before returning home. 

Is monoclonal antibody treatment approved by the FDA?

In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization to allow monoclonal antibody treatment for eligible individuals with COVID-19. 

Are there any side effects to monoclonal antibody treatment?

Side effects may include:

  • A reaction at the site of the IV, including pain, swelling, bleeding or bruising
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Itching, rash or hives 

Allergic reactions and other serious side effects are rare. 

How much does monoclonal antibody treatment cost?

There is no charge for the monoclonal antibodies themselves. There is a fee for administering the treatment. This cost is covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Individuals with private insurance should check with their insurer about costs. 

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving monoclonal antibody treatment?

Patients need to wait 90 days after receiving monoclonal antibody treatment before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. This will prevent monoclonal antibodies from affecting the vaccine. After 90 days, individuals should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Is monoclonal antibody treatment a replacement for the vaccine?

No. At Tidelands Health, we strongly encourage everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is the best way to protect yourself against the illness. 

Does receiving monoclonal antibody therapy impact isolation?

No. In alignment with CDC guidelines, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others regardless of whether they have received monoclonal antibody therapy. Click here for the CDC’s current isolation guidelines.