What’s up with monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 infections?


The safety profile for monoclonal antibody treatment is very good.

For people with COVID-19 infections who do not need to be hospitalized and who are at high risk of progressing to severe illness, monoclonal antibody therapies can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. ⁠

Monoclonal antibody therapies use laboratory made antibodies that are similar to the ones your body would make if you had a COVID-19 infection. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorizations for sotrovimab and the combination of casirivimab/imdevimab. These treatments are authorized for use in people aged 12 and up who are diagnosed with mild to moderate COVID-19 (they don’t need to be in the hospital) and who are at high risk of developing severe disease. Risk factors include older age, chronic diseases (like kidney, heart, or lung diseases), weakened immune systems, diabetes, or pregnancy. This is not an exhaustive list, as many different things (including social determinants of health like where you live and the impacts of structural racism) can impact your risk of getting really sick. Treatment is recommended to be started as soon as possible after getting a positive test and within 10 days of your first symptom.⁠

Having a severe allergy to the medication itself is the only absolute reason someone can’t get one of these treatments. The most common reported side effects for both treatments were mild injection site reactions, usually itching, bruising, and redness. Nausea, vomiting, rash, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea were also reported (also typically pretty mild).⁠

Sadly, monoclonal antibodies aren’t a magic answer. People who get monoclonal antibody treatments still need to isolate and take steps to protect others from infection. They should look out for any signs of worsening illness (like trouble breathing, feeling confused, or chest pain) and seek medical help if symptoms are getting worse. ⁠

Lots of Love,
The Nerdy Girls


Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Locator

Great summaries of the evidence and updated recommendations for COVID-19 treatment from the NIH 

Summaries of the studies and safety information can be found on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization fact sheets for Casirivimab/imdevimab and sotrovimab. You can find these fact sheets here.