SALT LAKE CITY — As daily case COVID-19 case counts continue to hit peaks not seen since last fall, Intermountain Healthcare researchers say a specific antibody treatment has proven effective in keeping people out of the hospital.
Speaking Monday, Dr. Brandon Webb said data from monoclonal antibody treatment studies show they reduce the levels of COVID-19 in the body. Even better, in trials among people at high risk for hospitalization from the coronavirus, the antibody treatments "tended to prevent the need for hospitalization," said Webb.
Monoclonal antibody treatments have been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since December. The drug Casirivimab/imdevimab was made widely available through Operation Warp Speed.
An Intermountain study administered antibody treatment to 594 patients, while another 5,000-plus patients did not receive the treatment. The study found a 57% reduction in patients needing hospitalization after a treatment, along with a decrease in deaths.
"These results are very encouraging," said Webb. "They emphasize that they truly are an important tool for treating patients early on as soon as after their symptoms start."
According to hospital officials, the treatment mimics the body’s natural immune response to COVID-19, designed to stick to the virus’ “spike” protein and neutralize it.
Since treatments are most effective just after symptoms begin, Webb urges people to get tested for COVID-19 soon after their symptoms start.
While encouraging for patients, a successful treatment would also lessen the load for healthcare workers currently overwhelmed in ICUs and emergency rooms.