Monoclonal antibodies have shown success in treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Now, people may be eligible to receive them even before testing positive.

People exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) may receive monoclonal antibodies as a preventive measure if they meet the treatment criteria.

“UPMC will soon offer this antibody as what is called ‘post-exposure prophylaxis,'” says Erin McCreary, PharmD, infectious diseases specialist, UPMC.

Who Is Eligible for Preventive Monoclonal Antibodies?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorization to two monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19:

  • The drugs casirivimab and imdevimab (REGEN-COV) used in combination.
  • The drug sotrovimab.

In July 2021, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for the REGEN-COV treatment. People now can receive REGEN-COV after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 but before testing positive.

To be eligible for the preventive treatment, patients must have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with someone who is infected.

They also must meet other criteria:

  • They must be age 12 or older and weigh at least 88 pounds.
  • They must be at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • They must be unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, or they must be a fully vaccinated individual who is not expected to have a strong immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. someone who is immunocompromised).

Please note: REGEN-COV is not available as a preventive treatment BEFORE exposure to SARS-Co-V2. Also, sotrovimab is not currently available as a preventive treatment.

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Do Monoclonal Antibodies Work Against the Delta Variant?

Monoclonal antibodies have proven an effective treatment against COVID-19.

A May 2021 UPMNop broC study found monoclonal antibodies cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 60% if given to patients within 10 days of infection.

REGEN-COV also has shown effectiveness as a prophylactic treatment. The FDA reported giving REGEN-COV to someone after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 significantly reduced their chances of getting symptomatic COVID-19.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) has become the dominant form of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States. Delta is more contagious and may cause more severe illness than previous variants. But both REGEN-COV and sotrovimab have been effective as treatment against Delta, Dr. McCreary says.

“These antibodies are constantly studied and changed in order to be effective against all of the variants,” she says. “The two we have now are both very effective.”

Does UPMC Offer Preventive Monoclonal Antibodies?

UPMC offers all authorized monoclonal antibody treatments to people who are eligible. We will provide the treatment in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

The treatment is available either intravenously or as an under-the-skin injection.

To learn more about any of UPMC’s monoclonal antibody treatments or to see if you qualify, visit UPMC.com/AntibodyTreatment or call 866-804-5251.

Although monoclonal antibodies have shown effectiveness against COVID-19, they are not a substitute for masking and distancing to protect you from being exposed to the virus, and vaccination to help prevent illness, including serious complications.

To schedule a vaccine appointment with UPMC, visit Vaccine.UPMC.com.

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.