Monoclonal Antibody Therapy at OhioHealth
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy at OhioHealth
Gain a deeper understanding of these therapies for COVID-19 and review the symptoms and high-risk factors necessary to be a candidate for treatment, and the process for receiving the medication.
In published studies, monoclonal antibodies decrease a patient’s viral load, which may reduce the possibility of disease progression and hospitalization. Monoclonal antibody treatment is approved under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has proven to be effective against the COVID-19 variants.
Talk to your doctor
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, have been experiencing symptoms for less than seven days, and have a high-risk factor (as listed below), you may be eligible to receive this treatment. Monoclonal antibodies can also be administered as a preventive measure to high-risk individuals after a known high risk COVID exposure. First, talk with your primary care provider — monoclonal antibody treatment requires a physician referral.
Fast facts about monoclonal antibodies
Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth’s system medical director of infectious disease, explains how monoclonal antibodies work, which patients the therapy is a good fit for, and the potential side effects and complications.
How the monoclonal antibody treatment process works at OhioHealth
- All patients must have a physician referral. Talk to your primary care provider.
- Submitted physician referrals are reviewed by a special multidisciplinary committee at OhioHealth.
- If the patient is approved for therapy, we will contact them to schedule an appointment at one of our dedicated treatment locations, or in their home. Patients will be called to schedule within about 48 hours, but it may take longer over the weekend.
- Monoclonal antibody treatment is an infusion therapy, delivered intravenously in one dose, in 30 minutes. The overall infusion process takes three to four hours, which includes setup, infusion, and observation after treatment.
- Visitors are not permitted. Patients are welcome to bring a book or reading material.
Cost for the treatment
OhioHealth is providing COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments for no cost to our community. We will not bill you for any balance, deductible, copay or coinsurance. However, be aware that if you have insurance, OhioHealth will bill your insurance provider for the cost to administer the treatment. If you do not have insurance, the government will cover the cost to administer the treatment via the CARES Act. Call the OhioHealth Price Line with questions at (614) 566-8707 or (toll free) (844) 393-1035.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that vaccination for COVID-19 should be deferred for at least 90 days after a patient is treated with monoclonal antibodies to avoid interference of the treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.
If a patient has received the COVID-19 vaccine, that should not impact the decision to recommend treatment with monoclonal antibodies. If a patient has only had one vaccine dose and chooses to get monoclonal antibodies, the second vaccine dose should be administered 90 days post treatment. The patient does not have to restart the vaccine series.
COVID-19 symptoms, high-risk factors and exclusion criteria
- Qualifying COVID-19 symptoms
- Documented temperature above 100 F (37.8 C)
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nasal discharge
- Nasal obstruction or congestion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Subjective fever or feverish feeling
- High-risk factors
- Age 65 or older
- Body mass index (BMI) above 35 or BMI above the 85th percentile for pediatrics
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or chronic lung disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy
- Medically related technological dependence, such as a tracheostomy or gastrostomy
- Immunosuppressive disease or treatment:
- Chemotherapy for cancer
- Within one year of hematopoietic stem cell or solid organ transplant
- Untreated HIV infection with CD4 T lymphocyte count below 200, or a CD4 percentage below 14%
- Combined primary immunodeficiency disorder
- Receiving prednisone above 20 milligrams a day for more than 14 days
- Exclusion criteria
Monoclonal antibody treatment is not authorized for use in patients who are:
- Hospitalized due to COVID-19
- Receiving oxygen therapy due to COVID-19
- Receiving chronic oxygen therapy due to an underlying non-COVID-19 related comorbidity, and require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19.