A Covid-19 diagnosis can be very alarming. “How sick will I be? How extreme will my symptoms get? Am I going to be so sick that I can’t take care of myself?”
Fortunately, with the COVID-19 vaccine, you can safely and effectively decrease your chances of extreme sickness. Also, Conway Medical Center is the first in the region to offer monoclonal antibody treatments that can reduce the severity of COVID-19 in those who have become infected. These infusion treatments have the potential to save lives and prevent people from needing to go into the hospital.
What are monoclonal antibodies?
An antibody is a protein that our bodies naturally create to fight off infection. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins developed in a lab to fight off infections that our bodies aren’t familiar with, like COVID-19. Your immune system takes time to produce natural antibodies. If you are sick, monoclonal antibodies give your immune system the ability to fight the virus earlier, which may prevent you from getting sicker and needing to be hospitalized for more extensive and possibly more invasive treatments.
What is monoclonal antibody infusion therapy?
An infusion is when you receive medicines or fluids through a needle or catheter. CMC uses infusion therapy to introduce monoclonal antibodies into your system.
Monoclonal antibodies have Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which determined that it is reasonable to believe that these treatments may be effective in treating adults and some pediatric patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.
How do I qualify for a monoclonal antibody infusion?
Your primary care provider will help identify if you are a candidate for monoclonal antibody infusion therapy. You must meet all of the following criteria:
- You’ve tested positive for COVID-19, but you’re not in the hospital.
- Your first signs of COVID-19 infection started 10 days ago or less.
- You’re at least 12 years old and at risk of a severe COVID-19 infection that could put you in the hospital because:
- You’re 65 years old or older.
- You’re 12 to 64 years old and you:
- have a medical problem that suppresses your immune system or you take immune-suppressing medicine.
- have diabetes.
- have kidney disease.
- are overweight with a body mass index of 25 or higher.
- have heart or lung disease.
- have high blood pressure.
- have sickle cell disease.
- have a neurodevelopmental disorder (such as cerebral palsy) or other medically complex conditions such as genetic conditions or metabolic syndrome.
- are dependent on a medical technology (such as tracheostomy, feeding tube, or positive pressure ventilation not related to COVID-19)
- are pregnant.
If you have any new or higher oxygen requirements because of COVID-19, an antibody infusion isn’t helpful and should not be given.
Is monoclonal therapy better than getting the vaccine?
Although mAb infusion treatments have shown to be effective against the more contagious delta variant circulating through our community, this treatment is not a substitute for vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines are still the most effective way to reduce your chances of falling ill with the virus and preventing severe illness or death.
Learn more about monoclonal antibody infusion therapy at CMC.