Open Accessibility Menu
Hide

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Monoclonal antibody treatment is an emergency use authorized treatment for eligible patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, and in some cases to prevent COVID-19 after being exposed. When administered within 10 days of their first symptoms appearing, it can significantly reduce your risk of hospitalization, minimize the severity of symptoms and help you recover more quickly. This treatment is approved for all ages.

To be eligible for a monoclonal antibody treatment:

  • You have a positive COVID-19 test with mild or moderate symptoms, or you have been recently exposed to someone with COVID.
  • You have had symptoms for less than 10 days.
  • You must not need supplemental oxygen for breathing due to COVID-19.
  • You must be at high risk for severe COVID-19 as defined below.

If you have certain high-risk factors, along with your requirements above, you may especially benefit from this treatment.

  • You are over the age of 65.
  • You are obese or overweight (i.e., typically a BMI of 25 or greater),
  • You are pregnant
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have sickle cell disease.
  • You have chronic kidney disease.
  • You have an immunosuppressive disease, or you are on an immunosuppressive treatment
  • You have cardiovascular disease.
  • You have a chronic lung disease, such as COPD/asthma, pulmonary hypertension or cystic fibrosis)
  • You have a neurodevelopment disorder, such as cerebral palsy)
  • You have a medical-related technological dependence. This might be something like a tracheostomy, gastrostomy or positive pressure ventilation.

There may be other medical conditions or factors that may place you at a high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 symptoms. If you think you may have a risk-factor, please contact your primary care physician.

Receiving Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

OU Health offers monoclonal antibody treatment at OU Health Edmond Medical Center — MAB Infusion Clinic for individuals ages 16 and older. Our center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm. Individuals who are under the age of 16 receive treatment at Oklahoma Children's Hospital. Your physician may refer you to our MAB infusion center by following the instructions on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the drug work?

When your body has a virus, your immune system makes antibodies to fight it, but that takes time, especially with a new virus like COVID-19. A COVID monoclonal antibody drug has man-made antibodies that are like the antibodies from people that have recovered from COVID-19. Scientists think these antibodies may decrease the amount of the COVID-19 virus in your body, which could help your body learn how to make its own antibodies.

Is the drug safe?

Scientists aren’t exactly sure yet. They are learning about the side effects and risks, and are still studying the drug in clinical trials. Both of these medications have had promising results so far, and the FDA has given emergency use authorization for doctors to use one of these medications with certain patients.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Some pregnant or breastfeeding people have received these medications. It is possible that the drug’s benefits will outweigh the risks. Your doctor will need to discuss your options with you.

What are the side effects of these type of medications?

Mild-to-moderate side effects may include:

  • Wheezing (breathing that may sound like a whistle) or trouble breathing.
  • Swollen face, lips or throat.
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweating, cough, sore throat, headache or muscle aches).
  • Upset stomach (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea).
  • Itching, swelling, rash or hives.
  • Dizziness or low blood pressure.
  • Changes in your heartbeat.

It is important to tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these side effects during or after your infusion. Some of these symptoms may be signs of a serious allergic reaction to the medication.

Remember, only a limited number of adults and children have received one of these medications and doctors are still learning about them. Unexpected serious side effects may occur. Doctors are still researching to see if having received one of these medications could make a future COVID vaccine less effective for you. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions. 

How will I take this drug?

The number of times a patient may receive the infusion is determined by your Provider. It will be given in hospital or infusion clinic and takes about 2-3 hours from start to finish. The medication is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion over 21 minutes. This means that the nurse will use a small needle to put a catheter (like a straw) into a vein in your arm to give you the drug. The catheter will be removed before you leave to go home. In certain cases, the medication may be given as four (4) subcutaneous injections. The Provider will determine how you will receive the medication.

Does the infusion hurt?

Anytime you get an infusion, you may feel a pinch or sting when the needle first goes in but that feeling should go away after a few seconds. If you feel pain or swelling during the infusion, tell your nurse right away.

After the catheter is removed, some people may have pain, bleeding, bruising, and soreness or swelling where the needle went in, which may become a more serious problem like an infection. It is always okay to ask the nurse at the infusion center or to call the doctor afterwards if you have questions or concerns.

Is this drug the same as a vaccine?

No. Vaccines help your immune system make its own antibodies over time. Antibody drugs give you the antibodies that can start working right away to help your body fight COVID-19. Neither of these medications are vaccines, and they do not have any COVID-19 virus in it.

How do I get ready for my infusion?

The appointment will take 2-3 hours and most people go home the same day unless they had a serious side effect.

The night before, make sure you get plenty of sleep and drink a lot of water. You can eat a light meal before your appointment as well. Wear a mask and warm, comfortable clothes with a shirt sleeve that you can roll up above your elbow.

For adults, in order to decrease the spread of COVID-19, friends and family cannot be with you during the infusion except in certain situations where approval has already been granted. Children are allowed to have one person older than 18 with them at their appointment. Ask the clinic staff if you have any other questions before the appointment.

What should I bring?

You may want to bring:

  • An extra sweater or jacket, in case you get cold.
  • Water and snacks.
  • Something to keep you busy during the infusion like books, magazines, headphones to listen to your music, games, or a laptop, phone or tablet.

What is it like to get the infusion?

During your appointment, the clinic staff will wear masks, glasses/face shield, a gown and gloves to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even though the nurse may not be right next to you during the infusion, they are still close if you need them.

The infusion nurse will show you to a chair where you can sit during the process. The nurse will check your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and take your temperature (vital signs). The nurse will clean your hand or arm with special soap to kill germs before using the small needle to put the catheter (straw) in your vein to give you the medication.

The nurse may check your vital signs during and at the end of your infusion. After the infusion is done, you will need to stay for at least one hour afterwards so the nurse can make sure you are feeling ok. Before you go home, the nurse will take out the catheter and cover the area with a band-aid.

How soon does the medicine start working?

Since each person is different, it is hard to know because it depends on many different factors. In some research studies people had their symptoms improve after about 6 days compared to 8 days with those people who did not get the medication. Even after the infusion, you can still pass COVID-19 on to others. It is important to wear a mask and stay away from other people for as long as your doctor tells you.

How will getting this treatment affect future COVID vaccination?

Reinfection with COVID-19 within 90 days after receiving this treatment is rare. It may interfere with your response to the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends not getting the vaccine for 90 days after your treatment.

What happens after my appointment?

In the days and weeks after your infusion, your doctor or clinic staff may check with you to see how you are feeling and which COVID-19 symptoms you may still have or have developed. If you have any new side effects or symptoms call your doctor right away. You can also report side effects directly to FDA MedWatch at www.fda.gov/medwatch or by calling 1-800-FDA-1099.