COVID-19 ANTIBODY THERAPY
Overview of COVID-19 Antibody Treatment
In February 2021, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) allowing healthcare professionals to administer a combination of monoclonal antibodies to adult and pediatric patients in need of COVID-19 treatment. The FDA issued this EUA after assessing the “known or potential benefits” of COVID-19 antibody treatment. Because coronavirus antibody therapy is a new treatment option, the amount of information and clinical research available is limited. Based on the emergency presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA determined that the benefits of granting a EUA for the use of COVID-19 antibody therapy outweighed the unknown and possible risks.
What are Monoclonal Antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins designed to mimic the antibodies produced in the immune system. Monoclonal antibodies are able to target and fight harmful viruses, like COVID-19. The two monoclonal antibodies that have been approved for use to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 are ‘bamlanivimab’ and ‘etesevimab.’
How Monoclonal Antibodies Treat COVID-19
COVID-19 antibody therapy works by blocking the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 virus) from attaching to the human cell. When a virus attempts to attach to the cell, the monoclonal antibodies bind to the spike protein of the virus, preventing it from infecting the cell. Bamlanivimab and etesevimab work together to target different areas of the COVID-19 virus, increasing the effectiveness of the other.
What are Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab?
Both bamlanivimab and etesevimab have the potential for treating COVID-19 on their own, but when combined treatment proves to be more effective. Bamlanivimab blocks attachment to host human cells and works to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Etesevimab binds specifically to the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus, blocking any attempted attachment to the surface of the human host cells.
Who is the COVID-19 Antibody Therapy For?
COVID-19 antibody therapy has been approved for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 and older, weighing at least 88 pounds. Patients that receive COVID-19 antibody therapy test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and are at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Based on data collected by Lilly during clinical trials, COVID-19 antibody therapy should NOT be used for patients who:
- Have been hospitalized due to COVID-19
- Require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19
- Experience chronic symptoms and require ongoing oxygen therapy due to comorbidity