One year on, doctor says monoclonal antibodies underutilized

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Friday, November 26, 2021 - 11:20am
Updated: Saturday, November 27, 2021 - 8:22am
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Dignity Health in Arizona.
Dr. Omar Gonzalez, hospital epidemiologist for Dignity Health in Arizona.

One year ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of monoclonal antibodies to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in people who are at high risk.

But do people know about them?

“Patients who get sick with the coronavirus, as soon as they get sick, they should contact their primary care physician and discuss this option of treatment, since it has been proven to be very effective at preventing progression and as well as hospitalization,” said Dr. Omar Gonzalez, hospital epidemiologist for Dignity Health in Arizona.

Monoclonal antibodies offer a safe, effective outpatient treatment for patients 12 and older who do not require oxygen or ventilation.

But Gonzalez says the patients he interviews "universally" have never heard of it.

"And I think it is a lack of knowledge in the community — not just by providers, but also by the general population." 

Gonzales says eligible patients should ask doctors to evaluate them for the treatment, which works best in the first 10 days following symptom onset or a positive test result.

The FDA also has approved the treatment as a protective measure for at-risk people who have recently been exposed to the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Science