COVID-19 Treatment

  • Rhode Island now has a doctor-recommended treatment for COVID-19 that is fast, easy, and highly effective. It helps keep you from getting sicker and being hospitalized. The earlier you start treatment, the more effective it is.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and are 65 or older or have an underlying health condition, immediately call your healthcare provider and ask about treatment for COVID-19.
  • 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

    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.
     

  • After completing this simple infusion, many people with COVID-19 start feeling better as early as the next day. This treatment does not require hospitalization.
  • Treatment will help you protect your household from COVID-19.
  • Find ways to prevent, treat or help fight COVID-19.

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.

Monoclonal antibody treatment with bamlanivimab or with casirivimab and imdevimab are for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. Casirivimab and imdevimab must be given together. Bamlanivimab is given alone. 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 monoclonal antibody treatment?

In Rhode Island, monoclonal antibody 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, you can always find one through telehealth services. Telehealth services will be provided through TeleCARE by Brown Emergency Medicine. 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:

  • Atmed Urgent Care
  • Blackstone Valley Community Health Care 
  • Center of New England Urgent Care 
  • Ocean State Urgent Care 
  • South County Express Care

Find more information about these particular clinics here.

Can I get monoclonal antibody treatment while pregnant or breastfeeding?

We do not know yet if it is safe to use the antibody treatment while pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their healthcare provider. There is 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 monoclonal antibody treatment?

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

Monoclonal antibody treatment may make these conditions worse.

What if I cannot get monoclonal antibody treatment?

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

Does monoclonal antibody treatment work?

Clinical trials for bamlanivimab and for casirivimab/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 monoclonal antibody 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. Because bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab are antibody treatments, they 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 are nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, itchiness, and vomiting. The most common reported side effects with casirivimab/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.

In clinical trials of bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab of nearly 3,000 people, two severe allergic reactions and five serious reactions related to the delivery of the treatment into the vein were reported. All reactions were treated and resolved.

How do I take monoclonal antibodies?

Monoclonal antibodies 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 monoclonal antibody treatment and where you can get it. There may not always be enough treatment available for everyone who wants it.

Will my insurance cover monoclonal antibody treatment?

The cost of monoclonal antibody 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 monoclonal antibody treatment?

We do not yet know how effective vaccines are in someone who has previously gotten monoclonal antibody 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 a monoclonal antibody 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