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COVID Antibody Infusion Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Certain people diagnosed with COVID-19 are more likely to develop severe symptoms and be hospitalized. Receiving an antibody infusion treatment at Temple University Hospital – Main Campus may help. Find out what you need to know about this treatment and to see if you qualify, with these most common questions asked by patients.

How do COVID antibodies work?

If you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, your immune system would normally produce antibodies — proteins that target the virus and help your immune system destroy it.

Researchers have also created artificial antibodies against the COVID-causing virus, called “monoclonal” antibodies. If you receive them early enough, these monoclonal antibodies may help supplement your own immune system — especially if you have not started producing antibodies on your own yet.

The aim is to help your body get the jump on the virus and reduce your likelihood of experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

What is emergency use authorization (EUA)?

Regeneron and Eli Lilly antibody treatments are available under an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Based on limited clinical trials, the benefits of antibody infusions appear to outweigh the risks for people who are under the greatest threat from COVID-19.

EUA designation means that a therapy has not been studied for long enough to be granted FDA approval yet. We do not have a full picture of how effective it is, whether there are side effects that could be dangerous, or exactly how it works.

How do I know if I qualify for antibody infusion treatments for COVID-19?

The 2 therapies offered at the COVID Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Clinic are available to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 but have not yet developed severe symptoms.

You must also weigh at least 88 pounds AND fall into one or more of the following high-risk groups:

  • Are age 65 or older
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater
  • Have chronic kidney disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a condition that disrupts or suppresses the immune system, such as HIV or leukemia
  • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatments (after a transplant, for example)
  • Are age 55 or older AND with at least one of the following: cardiovascular disease, hypertension or COPD/another chronic respiratory disease

Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure whether you qualify.

Learn more about Temple’s COVID Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Clinic >

If you do not qualify for therapies currently available under the emergency use authorization (EUA), you may qualify for another clinical trial available at the Temple Lung Center. Talk to your doctor to learn more about your options.

I have COVID but don’t have serious symptoms. Should I wait?

No. Antibody infusion therapy works best when it’s given early — within a few days of your positive COVID-19 test. If your symptoms become severe, you will no longer be eligible to receive this form of therapy.

The point of antibody therapy is to reduce the chance that you will ever develop very serious symptoms that require hospitalization. Do not wait until your symptoms start to get worse.

To see if you qualify for this treatment, request an appointment today or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536).

What does my doctor need to know before I receive this therapy?

You should make sure your doctor knows if you:

  • Have any allergies
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Plan to become pregnant or to breastfeed
  • Have any serious illnesses
  • Are taking any prescription or over-the-counter-medications, or if you use vitamins or herbal products
What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

We do not have enough information about these antibody infusion therapies to know whether they’re safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or whether they could affect a fetus or baby. Although, the benefits may outweigh the risks.

You should consult with your primary care physician to help decide if this is the right therapy for you.

What are the possible side effects?

In previous trials, some patients receiving these antibody infusions have reported side effects including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache, coughing or wheezing, a drop in blood pressure, swelling or inflammation of the skin, throat irritation, rash, itching, muscle pain/ache, and dizziness.

Because these therapies have not been thoroughly studied, other more serious side effects are also possible. As with many medications given through an IV, there is a risk of allergic reaction, which may be serious. Tell your doctor immediately if you feel strange during or after infusion treatment.

Who should I report any side effects to?

You should tell your doctor right away if you have any immediate or lasting side effects that bother you.

You or your doctor should also report this to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088 or 1-844-734-6643.

What other treatments are available to me?

If you have COVID and are not able to receive antibody treatment, Temple may have other options for you. Get information on other therapies for people with COVID-19.

You could be eligible to receive other treatments that are still being studied, such as blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Talk with your doctor about your additional treatment options, including clinical trials and investigational treatments available through Temple.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine after infusion therapy?

We do not currently have enough data to know how effective the vaccine is for someone who was given the antibody therapy, or if the antibody therapy could interfere with someone's own immune response to the vaccine.

As a precaution, the CDC recommends that you wait at least 90 days after receiving antibody therapy to get a vaccination against COVID-19.

If you have received your first dose of the vaccine, but not the second, CDC recommends delaying your second dose by at least 90 days. Studies suggest that you are unlikely to become re-infected with COVID-19 within 3 months of a previous infection.

Find out if you qualify for antibody infusion therapy. Make an appointment with a Temple pulmonologist or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536).