The COVID-19 vaccine may be readily available but that doesn’t mean that researchers have stopped looking for ways to treat the disease. Since late last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been approving drugs that are specifically tailored to fighting the virus.
These are known as COVID-19 antibody treatments and if you meet certain criteria, you could be next in line.
Why Do We Need This Treatment, Anyway?
Given that vaccines exist, many people are tempted to think that’s where it stops. Unfortunately, the need for an effective treatment exists. The COVID-19 antibody treatment is meant to use the virus’ specific make-up to treat it.
That’s important because of the variations of the virus that can occur as well as the fact that some fully vaccinated persons may still experience bad symptoms if they catch COVID-19.
While researchers are developing different treatment options, only particular people will receive it for now.
How Do You Know If You Qualify?
The general criteria for receiving the COVID-19 antibody treatment are:
- People who are 65 years of age or older
- Those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
- People who have chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive disease, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or a chronic respiratory disease like COPD
- Those who are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
- People with conditions that are not being addressed by clinical trials
Generally, the treatment is not recommended for people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 but exceptions may be made for those who have mild symptoms. If you have been hospitalized for reasons not related to the virus, you may also be considered for the treatment.
What If You Don’t Qualify?
Even if you don’t meet the above criteria, it’s possible to get the treatment at certain clinics or designated health centers. One way is to ask about clinical trials.
While the criteria for each trial will differ, they tend to be designed for people with specific chronic illnesses or persons who are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
It’s important to note that these clinical trials might give you access to different types of treatment options. These options include new medications as well as different delivery systems for the medications.
If you’re not interested in clinical trials, then some clinics are authorized to offer compassionate care on a limited basis. In this case, you may get access to what is known as investigational therapy. This is a type of treatment that has not yet been approved but is being investigated for the approval process.
Typically, you’ll only be accepted for compassionate care if you’re in serious condition or your COVID-19 infection is considered to be life-threatening.
Whichever route you decide to take, make sure that you understand what you’re in for. There’s a tight timeline for getting treatment but there’s always time for discussing what you should expect while being treated.
If you’re unable to have that conversation, ensure that someone accompanies you.
Bear in mind that the FDA is constantly revising its guidelines for the use of the COVID-19 antibody treatment so things can always change. It’s good to check the FDA’s website regularly to see the most recent modification so you know where you stand if you ever need treatment for the virus. The important thing is to get treatment as quickly as possible because the recommended timeline is within 10 days of seeing the symptoms.