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Monoclonal Antibodies Join COVID-19 Treatment Options

January 06, 2021

Kansas City, Kan. — It’s been a year since the first COVID-19 case was documented in Wuhan, China. The disease has spread around the globe and throughout the United States. Millions have been infected, and hundreds of thousands have died.

But there is hope. Vaccines are here and being rolled out as quickly as possible, and monoclonal antibody treatment provides a new therapy for patients with mild to moderate illness.

"Believe the science," said Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer for The University of Kansas Health System. "It’s not going to lead you astray. Science is bringing us vaccines. Science is bringing us monoclonal antibody treatment. And we will tell you what we know."

What is monoclonal antibody treatment?

Monoclonal antibody therapy is a new treatment for people with mild to moderate COVID-19. It is given to eligible patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are believed to be at high risk for developing severe illness.

A monoclonal antibody is a medical product produced in a laboratory. These molecules are designed to act just like the antibodies the body would produce to recover from a disease. The laboratory-produced molecules are given to the patient to mimic the immune system’s reaction to disease – in effect, tricking the body into thinking it has COVID-19 and fighting it off. Monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 – called bamlanivimab – battle the virus, reducing its ability to cause severe illness or damage.

The University of Kansas Health System has received a limited number of bamlanivimab doses. We provide it to eligible patients, who must meet criteria as follows:

Monoclonal antibody treatment is given by infusion on an outpatient basis. It must be given as soon as possible after the positive COVID-19 test result is confirmed, so it’s important to get tested quickly after you notice the first signs or symptoms.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing.

Follow the pillars

Even as developments progress, safety standards that have seen us through the pandemic this far still apply and haven’t changed.

“Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, stay at home if you’re sick, and don’t go out and congregate in large groups,” Dr. Stites said. “That’s what’s kept us safe in hospitals. It’s the same science in the community.”

Pillars of infection prevention and control

Learn more

The latest news on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments changes quickly. To keep up on developing information, you can:

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