If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, one of the first questions you may have is, What can I do to reduce the risk of getting sicker? The good news is, there are treatments that may reduce that risk. Depending on your age, health history, and how long you’ve had symptoms of COVID-19, you may qualify for a promising form of treatment for the disease. It’s called monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment.
Some early evidence suggests that mAb treatment can reduce the amount of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) in a person's system. This amount is known as viral load. Having a lower viral load means you may have milder symptoms thereby decreasing the likelihood of you needing to stay in the hospital.
mAb treatment may help people who:
Have a positive COVID-19 test, and had symptoms for 10 days or less
Are at high risk of getting more serious symptoms
Visit the page How Do I Know If I’m High Risk, and What Do I Do Next? to learn more.
This page describes what mAbs are, how they can prevent mild to moderate symptoms from getting worse, and what to expect if you get mAb treatment.
Have symptoms, but no healthcare provider? Call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585.
WHAT IS A MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY?
Your body naturally makes antibodies to fight infection. However, your body may not have antibodies designed to recognize a novel (or new) virus like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, are made in a laboratory to fight a particular infection—in this case, SARS-CoV-2—and are given to patients directly with an infusion. That’s why mAb treatment may help patients who are at high risk for serious symptoms or having to stay in the hospital.
mAb treatment for COVID-19 is different from a COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine triggers your body’s natural immune response, but can take weeks to develop enough antibodies and prevent some kinds of infection. Some vaccines for COVID-19 require two shots, so your body can develop its own immune response to the disease. But if you already have the virus, mAb treatment gives your body the antibodies it needs to protect itself.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services