Understanding COVID-19 Therapeutics

What are COVID-19 Therapeutics?

COVID-19 therapeutics refer to medical countermeasures used to treat individuals who are already diagnosed with COVID-19. Current COVID-19 therapeutics generally fall under one of two categories: monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) or antiviral therapeutics. Therapeutics are different from COVID-19 vaccines, which are administered to patients who do not have COVID-19.


What is a Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) Therapeutic?

While antibodies are naturally created in our bodies, lab-created mAbs differ in that they are designed to attack a specific disease target, such as a virus, and are directly administered to a patient via infusion. 

Learn more about mAbs from the COVID-19 Real-Time Learning Network, a collaboration between the CDC and Infectious Diseases Society of America. Additional resources are below.  

  • In the article titled, “Enlisting Monoclonal Antibodies in the Fight Against COVID-19” from the NIH Director’s Blog, Dr. Francis Collins explains how mAbs help fortify our immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 
  • The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has produced an episode on their I am BIO podcast on the Eli Lilly mAb therapeutic, detailing how clinical data from trials have shown reduced hospitalization in patients for COVID-19 when taken during the early stages of infection. 
  • The Mayo Clinic has created a resource describing eligible candidates for this therapeutic and how mAbs are being used to treat COVID. 
  • Harvard Medical School has developed an in-depth look at the current therapeutics currently available for patients with COVID-19. They provide an accessible summary of mAbs and their use against this disease.
  • HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has a dedicated website for all mAbs that includes fact sheets, FAQs, and more. 

For more information on the FDA’s emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for current COVID-19 mAb therapeutics – Bamlanivimab and Casirivimab and Imdemivimab – visit the FDA website on EUAs.


What is an Antiviral Therapeutic?

An antiviral therapeutic works to inhibit the replication of viruses in our bodies by stopping messenger RNA from relaying instructions to keep producing the genetic material needed for a virus to survive.

  • The CDC has listed the possible treatments a COVID positive patient may receive, including the antivirals that may be prescribed for hospitalized patients.
COVID-19 Therapeutics currently available to patients
Note: Convalescent Plasma – Evidence is still being gathered. Early studies suggest it may be helpful in preventing the worsening of symptoms for COVID-19 patients exhibiting mild symptoms. (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2033700)

1. https://www.covid19.lilly.com/assets/pdf/bamlanivimab/lilly-antibodies-playbook.pdf
2. https://www.regeneroneua.com/Content/pdf/treatment-covid19-eua-guide-book.pdf
3. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapeutic-management/
4. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/whats-new/


Patient Resources for COVID-19 Therapeutics

For more information on how mAbs work against COVID-19, patient eligibility criteria, and what you can expect when receiving this treatment, visit this HHS overview: combatcovid.hhs.gov. Below is more information on mAb therapeutics that are currently available for patients. 

REGENERON MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL—CASIRIVIMAB AND IMDEMIVIMAB

  • Casirivimab and Imdemivimab are investigational medicines that are being used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. These two medicines are administered to the patient through one intravenous infusion. For more patient information please see the EUA fact sheet from Regeneron (Spanish). 
  • You must be referred by a provider to receive this treatment.
  • You can find more information on this treatment in this statement made by the NIH.
  • Visit this helpful guide for information on potential treatment costs, here: HHS CARES Act Provider Relief Funds for Patients

ELI LILLY MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY- BAMLANIVIMAB 

  • Bamlanivimab is an investigational medicine that is being used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. This medicine is administered to the patient through one intravenous infusion. For more patient information on this treatment, please see the EUA factsheet from Eli Lilly (Spanish).
  • You must be referred by a provider to receive this treatment. 
  • You can find more information on this treatment in this statement made by the NIH.
  • Visit this helpful guide for information on potential treatment costs, here: HHS CARES Act Provider Relief Funds for Patients

GILEAD ANTIVIRAL THERAPEUTIC- REMDESIVIR 

  • Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that is used to treat severe symptoms onset by COVID-19. This treatment is only available to be administered in a hospital setting through an intravenous infusion. More patient information can be found in the Gilead factsheet.
  • The New England Journal of Medicine published a final report on the effect of remdesivir on hospitalized patients with severe symptoms from COVID-19. Their final conclusions show evidence for clinical improvement and reduced mortality for patients treated with remdesivir versus those who received the placebo. 
  • If you still have questions on information not covered here, the FDA has a FAQ for remdesivir, that can be found here.
  • Visit this helpful guide for information on potential treatment costs, here: HHS CARES Act Provider Relief Funds for Patients

Provider Resources for COVID-19 Therapeutics

To keep up to date with the latest information on patient eligibility and treatment guidelines, visit the NIH’s guide for COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines

Other resources that may be helpful include: 

REGENERON MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL—CASIRIVIMAB AND IMDEMIVIMAB

REGENERON MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL—CASIRIVIMAB AND IMDEMIVIMAB

If you are a healthcare provider and would like more information on the administration of this drug, please visit the Regeneron website for healthcare providers.

ELI LILLY MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY- BAMLANIVIMAB 

  • If you are a healthcare provider and would like more information on the administration of this drug, please visit the National Infusion Centers Association’s (NICA) website for Eli Lilly playbooks.

REMDESIVIR 

  • If you are a healthcare provider and would like more information on the prescription and administration of this drug, please visit Gilead’s resource center for healthcare providers.