Fighting COVID requires multiple weapons. One really promising weapon is monoclonal antibodies. Consider this from Cell in a study authored by Christos A. Kyratsous, et al:
Monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are a clinically validated therapeutic option against COVID-19. Because rapidly emerging virus mutants are becoming the next major concern in the fight against the global pandemic, it is imperative that these therapeutic treatments provide coverage against circulating variants and do not contribute to development of treatment-induced emergent resistance. To this end, we investigated the sequence diversity of the spike protein and monitored emergence of virus variants in SARS-COV-2 isolates found in COVID-19 patients treated with the two-antibody combination REGEN-COV, as well as in preclinical in vitro studies using single, dual, or triple antibody combinations, and in hamster in vivo studies using REGEN-COV or single monoclonal antibody treatments. Our study demonstrates that the combination of non-competing antibodies in REGEN-COV provides protection against all current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern/interest and also protects against emergence of new variants and their potential seeding into the population in a clinical setting.
Like other COVID-19 treatments, monoclonal antibodies are controversial because some public health commenters fear widespread knowledge about these therapies could encourage people to forego vaccines.
The approved COVID mAbs appear to be most effective when given right after a person begins showing symptoms. “That’s the time window in which the virus itself is playing a bigger role, before it triggers the inflammatory complications,” says Brandon Webb, an infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. If a patient’s immune system overreacts to the infection and requires artificial ventilation because of inflammatory damage to the lungs, the antibodies appear much less effective—and may even be harmful.
Even as monoclonal antibodies are deemed less effective once inflammation effects of the disease have set in, they are still a useful weapon in the arsenal against COVID-19.
Despite the promise of monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 treatment, frontline physicians continue to emphasize the importance of early treatment.