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Temple Antibody Infusion Clinic Offers Hope for Patients at High Risk of Severe COVID-19

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There are still many mysteries about COVID-19 that need to be solved, but one thing doctors know is that certain people who test positive for the coronavirus are more likely to become very sick and require hospitalization. Most at risk are people age 65 or over and those who are severely overweight or have chronic health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, lung disease, and heart disease.

For these patients, the Temple Lung Center has launched a COVID Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Clinic. The purpose of the clinic is to provide monoclonal antibody infusions to people who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are at high risk of developing severe disease. In clinical trials, these infusions have been shown to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalizations for some patients.

What is a monoclonal antibody infusion?

Antibodies are natural proteins the body makes to fight viruses like the coronavirus. Monoclonal antibodies are manmade versions of these natural antibodies. They are made in a lab, but they work in the same way as natural antibodies.

In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for two types of monoclonal antibodies – REGN-COV2 (casirivimab and imdevima combined) and LY-CoV555 (bamlanivimab). Both are given to patients through an IV.

“In clinical trials, these monoclonal antibodies were shown to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalizations or emergency room visits in patients who are most at risk of getting severely sick,” says Dr. Gerard Criner. “These antibody infusions continue to be studied for safety and effectiveness, but the early data look positive. Think of it as another tool we can use to battle this virus.”

Who is eligible for monoclonal antibody infusions?

Monoclonal antibody infusions are only available for people who are most at risk for severe COVID symptoms. Adults with one or more of the following may be eligible:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
  • Have chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive disease, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or chronic respiratory disease like COPD
  • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment

“These infusions are also available through clinical trials to other patients with COVID who do not meet the criteria for emergency use authorization, or in rare circumstances on a compassionate basis,” Dr. Criner says.

Infusions at Temple’s COVID Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Clinic are given through an IV over the course of about 1 hour. Patients only need one treatment, which should take place as soon as possible after a positive test for COVID-19. Doctors at the Temple Lung Center will determine which type of antibodies patients should receive based on their health and risk factors.

Have more questions about monoclonal antibody infusion treatment? View our FAQs.

To see if you qualify for a monoclonal antibody infusion, request an appointment with a Temple pulmonologist today or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536).