What to Know About the Covid Antibody Drugs That Could Help Many

What to Know About the Covid Antibody Drugs That Could Help Many

Here’s information about who these therapies can help, how much they cost and how to find out if you can get them where you live.

Two new antibody treatments have shown promise in keeping high-risk Covid-19 patients out of the hospital.

But despite getting a publicity boost from President Trump, who received the Regeneron treatment in October and praised it as a “cure,” the drugs have not been widely used since being authorized for emergency use last month by the Food and Drug Administration.

Now, federal and state health officials are urging patients and doctors to seek out the treatments.

Here’s what you need to know.

What are monoclonal antibodies?

The two treatments, by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, are the first drugs developed specifically for Covid-19 to be authorized by the F.D.A. They consist of artificially synthesized copies of the antibodies that people produce naturally when their immune system fights off infection. Eli Lilly’s drug consists of one antibody. Regeneron’s is a cocktail of two.

Pharmacy - European University Cyprus

What to Know About the Covid Antibody Drugs That Could Help Many

Early data have shown they may prevent hospitalization in people at high risk for severe complications from the disease. Clinical trials are continuing. The treatments are believed to work by helping to shut down the virus soon after infection.

Who do the treatments help?

The treatments can be given to anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, is at high risk of developing a severe form of the disease, and is within 10 days of first developing symptoms.

The treatments are not authorized for people who have already been hospitalized, or who need oxygen, because studies in these groups have not shown that the drugs work well.

How much do they cost?

Under deals that each company struck with the federal government, the doses will be free of charge, although some patients, depending on their insurance coverage, may have to pay for administering the drug, which must be infused by a health care provider.

In November, the federal government waived co-payments for the cost of administering the treatment for people covered by Medicare.