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COVID-19: More evidence that monoclonal antibodies reduce risk of death

  • Antibodies fight infection, and the body produces them naturally, but it is possible to introduce antibodies into the body artificially.
  • A new study suggests that the monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab may effectively reduce the chance of hospitalization and death in people with a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Use of bamlanivimab treatment was associated with a decrease in hospitalization and mortality, especially among adults over 65 years.

SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that has impacted people worldwide, causing drastic changes in daily life, illness, and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 32 million people in the United States have developed COVID-19.

In addition to respiratory symptoms, COVID-19 can cause serious complications, including cardiovascular complications, acute kidney injury, acute liver injury, acute respiratory failure, blood clots, and neurological complications.

As noted by the CDCTrusted Source, some individuals have a higher chance of becoming seriously ill after contracting SARS-CoV-2, meaning they may require hospitalization for treatment, use of a ventilator to help with breathing, or the illness may result in death.

Individuals with a higher chance of developing severe illness related to COVID-19 include older adults and those with other medical conditions, such as cancer, COPD, asthma, and diabetes.

he COVID-19 vaccine focuses on prevention, but researchers are also studying treatments for reducing symptoms and complications caused by COVID-19 infections. Treatment of COVID-19 using monoclonal antibodies may be an effective option for people at risk of severe illness.

Antibodies to treat COVID-19

The body produces antibodies to help it fight infections. Introducing monoclonal antibodies into the body to help block the virus has shown promiseTrusted Source as a treatment for those with a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Based on the nature of the virus and how it replicates, these specific antibodies can neutralize the virus, decreasing the amount of the virus present in the body.

Medical News Today spoke with Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chair for Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. He said:

“Antibody treatments have a long […] record of efficacy in infectious diseases but have not been used as much as they could have, as physicians have been more focused on antimicrobials and antivirals. This experience with antibody therapies against COVID-19 could help bring back wider use of antibodies for infectious diseases.”

The authors of the present study write that between November 2020 and February 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization for four types of monoclonal antibodies. Doctors can provide these monoclonal antibodies to individuals with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms up to 10 days after their symptoms began.

People at risk of developing serious complications and severe symptoms from infection with SARS-CoV-2 are more likely to benefit from monoclonal antibodies as a treatment option.