Bad news! Because the Omicron subvariants of COVID-19 have become dominant in the US, there are NO monoclonal antibodies currently authorized to treat COVID-19.
The newer circulating variants of COVID-19, called BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 have taken over, accounting for about 68% of all the circulating COVID-19 virus. This isn’t great news for us. Our last standing monoclonal antibody treatment, bebtelovimab, is not expected to be able to neutralize SARs-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and has been removed from use to treat COVID-19 infections.
The monoclonal antibody treatments are targeted against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein allows the virus to enter cells and make copies of itself. The monoclonal antibodies worked by blocking the spike protein and keeping the virus from entering the cells. However, the BQ.1 and BQ1.1 strains have had enough mutations and changes to the spike protein that the monoclonal antibodies don’t work.
Because we don’t have any authorized monoclonal antibodies for treatment, we have to rely more heavily on other treatments that are expected to maintain efficacy against the new variants: Paxlovid, molnupiravir, and remdesivir.
People who have immune suppressing conditions should talk to their clinician about Evusheld, a combo of 2 monoclonal antibodies used to prevent COVID-19 infection. Sadly, this medication is also likely to be less effective against the new variants. However, it is still recommended because it is all we have for medication prophylaxis.
This also highlights the need to prevent infection in the first place.
🙌 Get your primary vaccine series if you haven’t yet. It’s not too late!
💪 Get boosted with the bivalent booster vaccine to protect against the new strains.
😷 In communities with high transmission rates, wear a mask indoors and in crowded outdoor places.
☀️ Try to take activities outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
🤢 Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading an infection to anyone else.
Stay safe. Stay well.
Those Nerdy Girls
CDC Genomics and Variants Surveillance
ASPR Notification Bebtelovimab Not Currently Authorized
COVID-19 Real Time Learning Network Anti-SARs-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies
Those Nerdy Girls Post on Evusheld