October 14, 2021

There are now treatments available that can help keep some people from getting very sick, going to the hospital, or dying from COVID-19. One type of treatment is called monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies do not take the place of a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting sick with COVID-19. 

How do I get this treatment? 

Monoclonal antibody treatment is not for everyone. Treatments may be offered through your health system, public health clinics, community clinics, or even pharmacies. Access to this treatment may depend on the overall supply available or the healthcare facilities near you.

Get care early

Monoclonal antibody treatment must be taken early in your illness or shortly after you are exposed to COVID-19. This treatment is not for use before you are exposed to COVID-19 in order to avoid the disease. Only the COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent disease. 

Talk to your healthcare provider right away about what is right for you. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 211 for help finding one.

Who is eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment? 

To receive either monoclonal antibody treatment you must be 12 years old or older and weigh more than 88 pounds (40 kilograms). 

For a current COVID-19 infection, you must:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 
  • Be within 10 days of starting to have symptoms 
  • Have mild to moderate symptoms 
  • Not be hospitalized for COVID-19
  • Not be on new or increased oxygen therapy 
  • And be considered a high risk person (see below)

For COVID-19 exposure, you must:

  • Have been exposed to COVID-19 or be at high risk of exposure in a group setting (such as a long term care facility or group home) with COVID-19 cases
  • Not be completely vaccinated or be vaccinated, but have a weakened immune system 
  • And be considered a high risk person (see below)

High risk conditions for both uses of monoclonal antibodies: 

  • Any medical condition or other factor, including race or ethnicity, that puts you at higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 
  • 65 years of age or older
  • Obesity or being overweight 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Some ongoing diseases like kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sickle cell disease, or lung disease 
  • Disease or treatments that lower your immune response
  • Certain neurological or developmental disorders 
  • Needing medical equipment or regular treatment for daily living

What is monoclonal antibody treatment?

Monoclonal antibody treatment is a type of medicine given to someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 or who is mildly or moderately sick with COVID-19 and is NOT hospitalized. Monoclonal antibody treatment is a fluid given using a needle either into a vein (infusion) or under the skin (subcutaneously). 

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins produced in a lab that are designed to work like the antibodies (disease-fighting proteins) made by your own body. The proteins attach to a molecule on a virus or bacteria, in this case a spike protein on the outside of the COVID-19 virus. This blocks the virus from entering your cells, stopping the infection from spreading before it causes severe illness.  

What is in monoclonal antibody treatment?

In addition to the antibody protein, the treatment contains water, sugar, salt, a common stabilizer often used in foods and cosmetics (polysorbate 80), and amino acids.  

The treatment does not contain eggs, pork products, latex or fetal cells.

Is this a new treatment? 

Using monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 is new, because COVID-19 is new. However, monoclonal antibodies have been tested and used for many years to treat some types of cancer and autoimmune diseases, as well as rabies, ebola, and other illnesses. 

Monoclonal antibody treatment works against the Delta variant of COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized monoclonal antibody treatment for emergency use for eligible COVID-19 patients. The FDA authorized two ways the treatment can be used: one is to treat someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the other is to help prevent COVID-19 in someone already exposed to the virus. Both uses are for people at high risk of getting severely ill.

How much does it cost? 

Monoclonal antibodies for COVID are covered by the Oregon Health Plan and other insurance providers and should be low or no cost to you. 

More information

Call your doctor or clinic for more information. Or call 211 for information and support.

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Understanding Monoclonal Antibody Treatment (144.83 KB)

What to Expect - Monoclonal Antibody Treatment (141.49 KB)