FDA authorizes antibody treatment to prevent COVID after exposure
The Food and Drugs Administration has authorized a COVID antibody treatment for use as a preventative measure after exposure to the coronavirus.
Why it matters: Though the FDA said it should not be considered a vaccine substitute, the monoclonal antibodies can protect against severe illness by overwhelming the infection before it leaves the nose and throat, according to researchers.
- The FDA's expanded authorization means REGEN-COV can be administered as an injection. The first dose would need to be injected within 96 hours of exposure.
- People who qualify for its use must be unvaccinated or immunocompromised, at high risk of severe infection and in close contact with someone who tested positive.
- Clinical trials show the treatment can reduce the risk of developing symptoms by more than 30%. It's been shown to prevent the need for emergency room visits and hospitalization.
What they're saying: "It’s a race between your ability to make an antibody to protect your lungs and the rest of your body and the virus," Myron Cohen, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and one of the investigators behind the study of COVID antibodies, told NBC News.
- "And if you’re likely to lose the race, you’re the person for whom these antibody drugs are appropriate."
- It will help people who don't respond well to vaccines or don't make antibodies themselves, according to Ghady Haidar, a transplant infectious diseases physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.