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What are monoclonal antibodies?

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 10:18 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A promising COVID-19 treatment has been approved for emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent the progression of COVID-19 in high risk groups.

The treatment was previously authorized for use upon diagnosis to prevent severe illness and had been in use in Alabama for months. Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 is an infusion of experimental drugs thought to keep those newly diagnosed with COVID-19 from getting extremely sick, now FDA experts say it could prevent the disease from developing altogether. ”It’s really one of the best discoveries we have had during this pandemic,” Deputy State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said.

Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 must be administered in the early stages of exposure for the drugs to work and it’s only available to certain people. ”People who have underlying health issues. People who have immunity issues,” Landers explained.

She said the drugs are experimental and are manmade. ”Laboratory produced products; It’s really a production of proteins,” Landers said.

Monoclonal antibodies are injected by IV. One inside the body they attach to cells making it difficult for COVID to reproduce and progress.

The treatment should only be used on people who are not vaccinated, according to the FDA, or are expected to have a tough time fighting the virus. But health leaders warn the treatment is not a substitution for the COVID-19 vaccination. ”When we’re having more people needing it and more people seeking it production is something we have to keep an eye on,” Landers said. Monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 is approved for those aged 12 and up.

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