Spreading the Word on the Benefits of Monoclonal Antibodies for COVID-19

The term’s been floating around for a while now. But what do we really know about monoclonal antibodies (mAb) for COVID-19? And why should we care?

The answers are relatively simple: monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that can help your body fight off COVID-19 and reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization—if administered to high-risk patients soon after diagnosis.

We should care—because we want those who could benefit from this potentially lifesaving treatment to understand the urgency, how it works, who is eligible, what it costs (often free), and where to get it. 

Earlier this week, the CDC Foundation hosted a webinar to help educate community-based organizations (CBOs) and their partners about monoclonal antibody treatment, so they in turn can inform their communities, guide them to key resources and promote equitable access.

In the webinar, we heard from representatives of Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; Family Health Centers of San Diego; the Henry Ford Health System and the Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS) in Detroit; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and KPMG’s Center for Healthcare Regulatory Insight, which helped in putting together this webinar.

As the panelists shared, data show early intervention with mAb infusion has reduced hospitalization rates among high-risk patients by as much as 70 percent. Yet the treatment remains underutilized, especially in underserved communities where high-risk factors may be prevalent in the population. High-risk characteristics include things like older age (65+), diabetes, pregnancy, excess weight and chronic disease. 

While mitigation and protective measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and of course, vaccination are well known tools in the fight against COVID-19, new therapies such as monoclonal antibodies need greater awareness to have widespread impact.

“[mAb] has been one of the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christian Ramers, MD, assistant medical director for Research and Populations at Family Health Centers of San Diego. “If we succeed in increasing awareness and increasing availability, this will save lives.” 

If you missed this important webinar, or want to see it again, the webinar and related materials and resources can be found here, on our CBO resource page.

We hope you’ll take the time to check it out.

 

This blog post is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $68,939,536 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.  



Headshot of Hannah Buchdahl
Hannah Buchdahl is a COVID-19 Corps communications officer for the CDC Foundation.