NYC Health Dept Reminders NYers that Monoclonal Antibody Treatments Save Lives

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The NYC Health Department recently reminded New Yorkers and health care providers that monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments (PDF) are available and lifesaving. Photo Credit: YouTube

Treatment should be given as soon as possible after someone tests positive for COVID-19, so it is important to get tested right away if you have symptoms

Edited by: TJVNews.com

The NYC Health Department recently reminded New Yorkers and health care providers that monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments (PDF) are available and lifesaving. From December 2020 through October 20, 2021, at least 25,000 doses of monoclonal antibodies were administered to eligible New Yorkers at high-risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes who tested positive for COVID-19. Monoclonal antibody treatments have averted at least 1,100 hospitalizations and at least 500 deaths among people treated in New York City. mAb treatments can help anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, particularly those at higher risk of severe disease. NYC Health + Hospitals offers mAb treatments at 11 hospitals regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

“The science shows that monoclonal antibody treatments work and can make all the difference when it comes to the severity of COVID-19 illness,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “New Yorkers, get tested for COVID-19 as soon as you have symptoms. Once diagnosed, please speak with your health care provider about this lifesaving treatment.”

“All of our 11 hospitals have monoclonal antibody treatments for those eligible,” said Andrew Wallach, MD, Ambulatory Care Chief Medical Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “There is no out of pocket costs for the treatment, and we will treat anyone regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay.”

When given early after symptom onset, mAb treatments can decrease the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19, which is why it is crucial to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as symptoms begin – the sooner someone is tested, the sooner treatment can begin.

Monoclonal antibody treatments are authorized as treatment for non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at a high risk of progression to severe disease. One product, REGEN-COV, is authorized for the prevention of illness for certain people at high-risk that were exposed to COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized mAb treatments for emergency use and they are shown to be safe in clinical studies. mAbs work similarly to antibodies that the immune system makes and help fight COVID-19 while the immune system begins to make its own antibodies. Those who receive mAb treatment should wait three months after treatment before getting vaccinated.

mAb treatment is more effective if begun shortly after symptom onset or exposure. The Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals are working to ensure that health care providers and the public are aware of this important treatment option so that eligible people can seek care right away if they test positive for COVID-19 or after an exposure. The Health Department has guidance for health care providers (PDF) with information about the different types of mAb treatment, eligibility criteria, and referral options.

Treatment should be given as soon as possible after a patient has a positive COVID-19 test result and within 10 days of symptom onset. Per the FDA’s emergency use authorization, mAb treatment is authorized for patients 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Older age (for example, age ≥65 years of age)
  • Obesity or being overweight (for example, BMI >25 kg/m2, or if age 12-17, have BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts)
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment
  • Cardiovascular disease (including congenital heart disease) or hypertension
  • Chronic lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma [moderate-to-severe], interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (for example, cerebral palsy) or other conditions that confer medical complexity (for example, genetic or metabolic syndromes and severe congenital anomalies)
  • Having a medical-related technological dependence (for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19))
  • Other medical conditions or factors, such as race or ethnicity, that may place people at higher risk due to long-standing systemic health and social inequities

Post-exposure prophylaxis should be considered for patients meeting the above criteria who were exposed to a person with confirmed COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated or not expected to mount an immune response to the vaccine.

For additional information on medical conditions and factors associated with increased risk for progression to severe COVID-19, see the CDC website.

NYC Health + Hospitals offers mAb treatment at 11 hospitals. Patients with a positive COVID-19 test can be screened for eligibility and scheduled for an appointment with NYC Health + Hospitals by connecting to ExpressCare.nyc and clicking “Talk to a Doctor Now” or they can call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) and press 9 for monoclonal antibody treatments. Patients can call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week. NYC Health + Hospitals provides care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

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