Monoclonal antibodies: What you should know

Archive, July, Month

The therapy has played a signification role in the fight against COVID-19.

As the pandemic progressed, the term monoclonal antibodies began to be heard more and more.

It was touted as a treatment for COVID-19 patients who were experiencing symptoms.

But what is it? And what should you know about monoclonal antibodies?

What are monoclonal antibodies?

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that are designed to act like the body’s immune system, in that they fight off invading, harmful viruses and other antigens.

These were first developed in the 1970s. Monoclonal antibodies are different from vaccines, which works to prevention infection.

How they fight COVID-19

On May 26, 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab to treat certain cases of COVID-19 as an outpatient treatment.

An EUA is the same authorization the FDA issued for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Monoclonal antibodies are designed to prevent virus’ ability to attach itself to human cells and infect them.

It has been authorized for use in patients 12 years and older who have tested positive for COVID-19, and who are experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms. It has not been authorized for patients who are sick enough to require hospitalization and/or oxygen therapy.

How effective is it?

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted with 583 patients who tested positive for COVID-19, but who were not experiencing severe symptoms.

Of those patients, 291 were given sotrovimab, 292 were given the placebo. For those given sotrovimab, three people (1 percent) were hospitalized or died. This is compared to 21 people, or 7 percent, who were hospitalized or dead, representing an 85 percent reduction.

Continually monitoring the monoclonal antibodies as the pandemic progresses, the FDA says it “retains activity” against the variants circulating around the globe.


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