UVA Health is offering monoclonal antibody drugs for appropriate patients with COVID-19 who are at highest risk for developing severe symptoms and requiring hospitalization.
UVA can provide infusions of the monoclonal antibody drugs from Regeneron and Lilly – available under an emergency-use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – for up to 20 patients per week.
“For certain patients with COVID-19, monoclonal antibody therapy can be an important treatment that can help keep them out of the hospital and reduces their risk for their symptoms worsening,” said Debbie-Ann Shirley, MD, MPH, medical director of UVA’s COVID-19 Clinic. “So far, patients receiving the treatment have responded well to it, and no one has developed adverse reactions to the treatment while in the clinic.”
Which COVID Patients Are Eligible?
Patients with COVID-19 may be able to receive the treatment if they have had mild-to-moderate symptoms for fewer than 10 days and are at greater risk for developing more serious symptoms that may require hospitalization. Risk factors include:
- A body mass index (a body-fat measurement based on height and weight) of 35 or higher
- Chronic kidney disease
- Diseases that weaken the body’s immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis
- Receiving another treatment that weakens the immune system
- Age 65 and older
- Age 55 and older with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other chronic respiratory diseases
Patients are not eligible to receive monoclonal antibodies if they:
- Are hospitalized with COVID-19
- Require new oxygen therapy because of COVID-19
- Are already on chronic oxygen therapy for a non-COVID condition and require an increase in oxygen levels because of their COVID symptoms
- Have had COVID-19 symptoms for more than 10 days
Accessing Monoclonal Antibodies at UVA
Patients must be referred for treatment by a healthcare provider or through the UVA Medical Center Emergency Department. A member of UVA’s COVID-19 Clinic team will then directly contact patients that meet the treatment criteria to coordinate their monoclonal antibody infusion.
Patients approved for a referral will be assigned a priority level based on their risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization. Patients selected for infusion will receive their monoclonal antibodies during an appointment at the UVA COVID-19 Clinic. Infusion appointments typically take three to four hours.