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Covid monoclonal antibodies cut hospitalization, death risk by 60%, says study

New York, May 18 (IANS)¬†Administering monoclonal antibodies — a Covid-19 treatment given early after Coronavirus infection — can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 60 per cent in people most likely to suffer complications of the disease, according to study.

Monoclonal antibodies are a type of medication that seeks out the Covid-19 virus in a person’s body and blocks it from infecting their cells and replicating.

The study, led by University of Pittsburgh researchers found that people aged 65 and older who received bamlanivimab — a monoclonal antibody — were nearly three times less likely to be hospitalized or die in the following month, compared to their untreated counterparts.

The results were less pronounced in younger populations, but overall, more positive results were seen in those who received monoclonal antibody infusions than in those who did not. The findings are published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

“The fact that we found bamlanivimab to be this effective in keeping our patients with Covid-19 out of the hospital bodes very well for the future use of the currently available monoclonal therapies, something we are studying now,” said lead author Ryan Bariola, Associate Professor in Pitt’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

“If given early to high-risk patients, this treatment works to prevent Covid-19-related complications,”Bariola added.

The team analyzed data on 232 patients treated with bamlanivimab to learn how they’ve fared since their infusions. They compared antibody-treated patients’ data to that of a matched set of patients of similar age and health status who had contracted Covid-19 and were eligible for the treatment but did not receive it.

The data also showed a stronger positive effect the earlier patients received the treatment after contracting the virus, and a very low rate of adverse reactions to the infusion, all of which were mild.

“If there’s one key take-away that we’re seeing in our data, it’s this: If you get Covid-19 and are at higher risk for severe illness, ask your doctor about monoclonal antibodies. “Don’t hesitate. Early treatment, while your symptoms are still mild, may be essential,” said Graham Snyder, Associate Professor in Pitt’s School of Medicine.

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