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What are monoclonal antibodies? Can they be used for treatment if I test positive for COVID-19?

Last Updated: 03/18/2021

Monoclonal antibodies could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system's attack on cells. They may block the virus that causes COVID-19 from attaching to human cells thereby making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm.

Treatment Options

Many hospitals and treatment centers are now giving one of three monoclonal antibody therapies: Bamlanivimab, Bamlanivimab/Etesevimab, and Casivimerab/Imdemivab. These options are used to treat COVID-19 in the mild to moderate stage of symptoms. Eligible patients receive treatment via an infusion process, followed by an observation period.

If you have taken a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test and had a positive result, immediately contact your healthcare provider or nearest hospital or medical facility to see if you are eligible for one of these new treatments as each of these therapies must be administered as early as possible.

Individuals should NOT receive monoclonal therapy if:

  • You are beyond the first 10 days of experiencing COVID symptoms
  • You are already hospitalized with COVID-19 --unless you were initially hospitalized for something other than COVID-19
  • You need oxygen therapy due to COVID-19
  • You were already on baseline oxygen for other conditions but it was increased due to COVID-19

Source: https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/monoclonal-therapies.pdf; https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/COVID19_mAb_Factsheet_Patient_1.14.21.pdf