While vaccination programs get scaled up to prevent +ve patients and achieve herd immunity, scientists continue to work on developing treatments for the disease. Monoclonal antibody therapy, which has been successfully used in other countries to treat positive patients with mild or moderate symptoms has now been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for use in India.
How Do Monoclonal Antibodies Work?
Similar to antibodies which are proteins that the body naturally produces to defend itself against disease, monoclonal antibodies are artificially created in the lab, tailor-made to fight the disease they treat.
Treating with Monoclonal Antibodies
Now available in India, Casirivimab and Indevimab are monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.
It is a cutting-edge treatment that provides protection to positive patients with mild or moderate symptoms before they deteriorate further or require hospitalization. This single dose infusion-based treatment can be administered intravenously or subcutaneously on an outpatient basis in the hospital. Following the antibody infusion, the patient is kept under observation for a few hours to monitor for any side-effects after which the patient can return home to quarantine and must continue to strictly follow isolation protocols.
Who is Eligible for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy?
The monoclonal antibody therapy is most suited for high-risk patients who are within first ten days of symptom onset and meet any of the following criteria:
• Age 65 years or older
• Obesity with BMI>35
• Type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus
• Chronic kidney disease, including those on dialysis
• Chronic liver disease
• Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
• Age>55 having either heart disease, or hypertension, or chronic lung disease
High risk patients between the 12 – 17 years of age may also be eligible if they have any of the following conditions:
• BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts
• Sickle cell disease, or congenital or acquired heart disease
• Neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy)
• Medical-related technological dependence, for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation , asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication for control
Are There Instances When Monoclonal Antibody Therapy is not Recommended?
The therapy is not recommended in patients who:
• Are hospitalized, or
• Require oxygen therapy
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