Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

With the omicron variant of COVID-19 becoming the dominant strain in Colorado, some monoclonal antibody treatments are no longer effective. Monoclonal antibody treatment is now limited throughout Colorado.

Monoclonal antibody treatment, when given early, can prevent serious illness and help patients avoid a hospital stay. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine if this treatment is appropriate to treat your illness.

You might be eligible for treatment if you have tested positive for COVID-19, your symptoms started within the last 10 days, you aren’t hospitalized or on oxygen due to COVID-19, and you are at risk of getting very sick without treatment. 

People at risk of getting very sick include:

  • People who are 65 years old or older.
  • People who are obese or overweight. This includes adults with a BMI of 25 or more. It also includes children age 12 to 17 who have a BMI in the 85th percentile or higher for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People with certain underlying medical conditions.

You can get monoclonal antibody treatment even if you are fully vaccinated and have a breakthrough case.

If you would like to seek treatment: 

  • Talk with your health care provider. Let them know you have tested positive for COVID-19 and want to get monoclonal antibody treatment. If you are eligible, your health care provider will help you find a place to get treatment.
  • UCHealth - schedule a visit with a UCHealth Urgent Care center.
  • Schedule an appointment at a state-led clinic. You do not need a prescription to make an appointment at a state-led clinic. However, you must have an appointment in order to receive treatment. Call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) for help making an appointment. The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT. The call center will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 for the holidays. You can also find a list of upcoming available appointments at COMassVax.org.

Medications Approved or Authorized for Use

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one drug, remdesivir (Veklury), to treat COVID-19.

  • Paxlovid has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Results from a clinical trial showed that Paxlovid reduced hospitalizations and deaths among high risk patients by nearly 90%. Treatments such as these can go a long way to preventing hospitalizations and moving us from the acute phase of the pandemic, especially in conjunction with vaccination.

  • Molnupiravir has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Molnupiravir works by targeting the enzyme needed for the virus to make copies of itself and introduces errors into the virus’s genetic code. This action curtails the patient’s viral load, shortening the duration of the illness and mitigating serious symptoms. Those who test positive should contact their healthcare provider right away to seek treatment.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed and regularly updates Treatment Guidelines to help guide healthcare providers caring for patients with COVID-19, including when clinicians might consider using one of the products under an EUA.

While these and other treatments in development will help reduce hospitalizations and harms, the greatest benefit comes from combining vaccination for prevention and then the treatment regime as needed for COVID-19 patients.

Medications Not Approved or Authorized for Use

The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous. Animal ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans. Use of animal ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans is dangerous. 

Treatment Outside of the Hospital

Your healthcare provider might recommend the following to relieve symptoms and support your body’s natural defenses:

  • Taking medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce fever
  • Drinking water and staying hydrated
  • Getting plenty of rest to help the body fight the virus

Treatment in the Hospital

  • Slowing the virus. Antiviral medications reduce the ability of the virus to multiply and spread through the body.
  • Reducing an overactive immune response. In patients with severe COVID-19, the body’s immune system may overreact to the threat of the virus, worsening the disease. This can cause damage to the body’s organs and tissues. Some treatments can help reduce this overactive immune response.
  • Treating complications. COVID-19 can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. It also can cause other complications. Depending on the complications, additional treatments might be used for severely ill hospitalized patients, such as blood thinners to prevent or treat blood clots.
  • Supporting the body’s immune function. Plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19—called convalescent plasma—can contain antibodies to the virus. This could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus, but currently the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines find there is not enough evidence to recommend these treatments.