Patients at high risk for more severe COVID-19 infection often qualify for both monoclonal antibody (mAb) and oral antiviral therapies. These treatments have not been studied to be taken together. Guidance from the National Institutes of Health recommends oral antiviral treatments be considered first, as they are more effective.

These investigational treatments are not authorized for use in people who:

  • Are hospitalized due to COVID-19.
  • Need oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.
  • Need increased oxygen due to COVID-19 or who are on chronic oxygen therapy due to a non-COVID-19 health problem.

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Monoclonal antibodies are made in a laboratory to fight a particular infection based on natural antibodies. The mAb treatment can help patients who are at high risk for severe symptoms or hospitalization from COVID-19. In addition, they can help shorten the course of illness from COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization. Monoclonal antibodies are not a cure for COVID-19. The treatment is given as an infusion (through the veins) over 30 seconds, and this is followed by one hour of observation for safety.

Oral Antiviral Medications

Oral antiviral medications are pills prescribed by a health care provider and can be taken at home. Oral antiviral medications are not a cure. However, in people at higher risk of COVID-19, they may help keep symptoms from becoming more serious and/or keep them from needing to be in the hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The antiviral medications may be appropriate for people who are within their first five days of symptoms of COVID-19 and monoclonal antibodies are for patients within seven days of symptoms. These treatments are not for patients in the hospital, but who are more likely to become seriously ill. This includes older people and those with chronic health conditions like heart disease, cancer or diabetes that make them more vulnerable. All medications are approved for adults; Paxlovid and monoclonal antibodies also are authorized for children ages 12 and older; Molnupiravir is authorized for people ages 18 and older.

A: Talk with your health care provider to determine if molnupiravir or Paxlovid, both oral medications, may be an appropriate treatment option for you. If you don’t have a provider or have trouble reaching your provider, call 302-428-2400, click option 3 and our team can help with navigating treatment.

Monoclonal antibody is currently being provided at our specialty infusion center at ChristianaCare’s Newark campus. You cannot get this therapy in the emergency department, in clinics or if you are already in the hospital with COVID-19. If your provider is within ChristianaCare, they can place a referral to activate the process. If your provider is not within ChristianaCare or you would like to make a self-referral as a patient, call 302-428-2400 and select option 3.

A: These medications help your body fight off viruses that cause disease, reduce the symptoms of an infection and shorten the length of illness. It’s important to note that these medications are meant to be taken after you’ve experienced COVID-19 symptoms. They cannot be used to prevent COVID-19 or in people who test positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms.
A: These medications are still being studied, so it is possible that not all the risks are known at this time. Talk with your health care provider. If you start the medication, you can use the Center for Virtual Health’s texting platform or call your provider’s office to report any side effects or issues.

A: The safety of these medications was studied before their emergency use authorizations and are considered safe for patients who meet certain criteria. The following advisories were issued:

  • Paxlovid cannot be used in patients with severe kidney disease. It also can have serious interactions with various medications, so you should always tell your health care provider about other medications or supplements that you may be taking.
  • Molnupiravir is only authorized for adults because it may affect bone and cartilage growth. The medication is not recommended during pregnancy.
  • Monoclonal antibodies risk includes injection site reaction and infusion-related reactions but are rare.
A: Paxlovid has more promising data than molnupiravir and bebtelovimab, but they have not been studied together. The National Institutes of Health recommends Paxlovid over other treatments when possible.
Neither oral medication nor monoclonal antibodies can be used in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.
There is currently no cost for these medications. In terms of monoclonal antibody administration, there is a cost associated with providing the infusion and patient responsibility is dependent on your specific health insurance policy.