What is monoclonal antibody infusion, the treatment Gov. Abbott is getting to battle COVID?

Thursday, August 19, 2021
EXPLAINER: What is monoclonal antibody infusion?
It's the treatment Gov. Greg Abbott is getting after he was diagnosed with the virus, but how does it work? Who can get it?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's the infusion you need before it's just too late.

That's how health experts are describing the Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion, which was developed to fight off COVID- 19 in patients who are positive.

It's also the treatment Gov. Greg Abbott is getting after he was diagnosed with the virus. He was vaccinated in December.

The antibody, which was only developed in the last year and a half, attacks the spike protein in COVID once it's injected into the body.

"By targeting that spike protein so that the virus can't get its DNA into ourselves," explained Dr. Syed Raza with St. Luke's Hospital.

Here is who best qualifies for the infusion:

  • COVID-19 patients who are experiencing mild symptoms
  • Those with immunodeficiencies who have tested positive for the virus, but have yet to experience any symptoms
  • Those with immunodeficiencies who have been be exposed to COVID, but have not yet tested positive

The Regeneron drugs, when given within 10 days of initial symptoms, have been shown to cut rates of hospitalization and death by roughly 70%. The vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have been proven in large, real-world studies to be 95% effective against hospitalization.

"We definitely need treatments like monoclonal antibodies that can prevent mild disease from progressing to severe disease. Ultimately, it's still best to prevent someone from contracting COVID-19 in the first place," said Dr. Leana Wen, public health professor at George Washington University and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. "Monoclonal antibodies are not prevention."

In order to receive the drug, your health care provider must prescribe it.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Stefania Okolie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.