Monoclonal antibodies no longer authorized to treat COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that two monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 are currently not authorized for use due to their limited effectiveness against the Omicron variant. Omicron is still circulating widely in the U.S., including in Georgia. 

Monoclonal antibodies are synthetic, laboratory-created proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 can mutate over time, resulting in certain treatments not working as effectively against all variants such as Omicron. 

Data shows that Lilly’s bamlanivimab plus etesevimab and Regeneron’s casirivimab plus imdevimab are not effective against the Omicron variant which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is still responsible for about 99% of new COVID cases in Georgia. 

There are several other therapies such as oral antivirals from Pfizer and Merck, remdesivir, and sotrovimab that have been shown to be effective against the Omicron variant. These treatments are for non-hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, who are at high risk for severe illness, hospitalization, or death.

Depending on your age, health history, and how long you have had symptoms, you may qualify for treatment if infected. You will need to discuss your eligibility with your healthcare provider. 

HOW TO GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 has killed more than 30,000 Georgia residents. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones die from a preventable virus. COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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