COVID-19 Treatment with MABS (Monoclonal Antibodies)

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What is this new treatment?

This new treatment is called monoclonal antibody treatment.

Antibodies are proteins that people's bodies make to fight viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies made in a laboratory act a lot like natural antibodies to limit the amount of virus in your body. They are called monoclonal antibodies (MABS).

MABS treatment with bamlanivimab and etesevimab or with casirivimab and imdevimab is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. Bamlanivimab must be given with etesevimab and casirivimab and imdevimab must be given together. These treatments are allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) while clinical studies continue to look at their usefulness and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can get treatment with monoclonal antibodies (MABS)?

In Rhode Island, MABS treatment can be used by people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who test positive for COVID-19 and are 65 or older or have an underlying health condition. For questions about whether you can and should get this treatment, call your healthcare provider.

If you don’t have a healthcare provider and were tested at State testing sites, you can be evaluated for treatment options at one of the following treatment centers:

  • Blackstone Valley Community Health Care 
  • Ocean State Urgent Care 
  • South County Express Care
  • Thundermist Health Center

Find more information about these particular clinics.

TeleCARE by Brown Emergency Medicine is another option for patient evaluation and referral for MAB treatment.

For patients who do not have or have lost their health insurance, learn about other urgent care and health centers and accessing healthcare and support services.

 

Can I get MABS treatment while pregnant or breastfeeding?

We don’t yet know if it’s safe to get MABS treatment while pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their healthcare provider. There's no available data on the presence of lab-made antibodies in human or animal milk, the effects on breastfed infants, or the effects on milk production.

CDC: Considerations for Newborns and Breastfeeding

 

Who should not get MABS?

You should not get this treatment if you:

  • Are hospitalized due to COVID-19 OR
  • Need oxygen therapy due to COVID-19 OR
  • Are on chronic oxygen therapy due to underlying conditions not related to COVID-19 who need to increase their baseline oxygen due to COVID-19

MABS treatment may make these conditions worse.

 

What if I cannot get MABS treatment?

This is the only treatment for COVID-19 for people who are not hospitalized. Treatments for hospitalized patients include the antiviral drug remdesivir and steroids. Talk to your healthcare provider about treatments that are right for you.

Does treatment with monoclonal antibodies (MABS) work?

Clinical trials for bamlanivimab and etesevimab and for casirivimab and imdevimab have shown a decrease in hospitalizations and emergency room visits and a decrease in the amount of virus in an infected person's blood. Studies are still ongoing.

 

What are the side effects of MABS treatment?

Clinical studies are ongoing to evaluate the usefulness and safety of monoclonal antibody treatment. It is possible that not all risks are known yet. Antibody treatments could get in the way of your body’s own immune response to future infections with COVID-19, or they could affect your immune response to a vaccine for COVID-19.

The most common reported side effects with bamlanivimab and etesevimab are nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, itchiness, and vomiting. The most common reported side effects with casirivimab and imdevimab are nausea and vomiting, hyperglycemia, and pneumonia. The side effects of getting any medicine by vein may include brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, and possible infection at the infusion site. Rarely, people may have allergic reactions.

How is treatment with monoclonal antibodies (MABS) given?

MABS must be given into a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion. They may only be given in settings where healthcare providers have immediate access to medications to treat any reactions and where emergency medical systems are available, if needed.

 

Where can I get it?

Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should get MABS treatment and where you can get it. 

 

Can I get help getting to and from treatment?

Yes. In partnership with RIDOH, Alert Ambulance provides free transport to and from treatment appointments.

Will my insurance cover treatment with monoclonal antibodies (MABS)?

The cost of MABS treatment is covered for Medicare beneficiaries, but healthcare facilities may charge a fee for to give the treatment. People who don’t receive Medicare should contact their medical insurance provider about treatment costs and should also speak with their healthcare provider who orders the treatment.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve had treatment with monoclonal antibodies (MABS)?

We do not yet know how effective vaccines are in someone who has previously gotten MABS treatment for COVID-19 or whether the treatment could interfere with your body's own immune response to a vaccine. Once you’ve had COVID-19, you are very unlikely to be reinfected for three months afterward. So if you had MABS treatment, you should wait for three months before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

CDC: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States

 

Can I get MABS treatment after I’ve gotten any COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. For partially or fully vaccinated people who become infected with COVID-19, having gotten a COVID-19 vaccine should not affect MABS treatment decisions or timing.