If your loved one has tested positive for COVID-19, it can be an anxious and uncertain time for them and for you. You’ll probably have many questions. One of them may be, Are there any options to treat the disease?
The answer is yes. Depending on your loved one’s health history, how long they’ve had symptoms of COVID-19, and whether or not they’ve been hospitalized with the disease, they may be eligible for a variety of treatment options.
If your loved one is having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call your healthcare provider or 911.
MY LOVED ONE HAS NOT BEEN HOSPITALIZED BECAUSE OF COVID-19 AND HAS MILD OR MODERATE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19. WHAT ARE THEIR TREATMENT OPTIONS?
If your loved one has not been hospitalized because of COVID-19, has mild to moderate symptoms of the disease for less than 10 days, and may be at high risk of developing more serious symptoms, they may qualify for a promising treatment called monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.
What Are Monoclonal Antibodies?
mAbs are made in a laboratory to fight a particular infection—in this case, the virus that causes COVID-19—and are given to patients directly with an intravenous (IV) infusion.
To learn more about mAbs and how they work, visit our page Monoclonal Antibodies For High-Risk COVID-19 Patients.
To learn who may qualify to receive mAb treatment, visit our page How Do I Know If I’m High Risk, and What Do I Do Next?
If you think your loved one may qualify for mAb treatment, contact your healthcare provider. Ask them to discuss monoclonal antibody treatment and whether your loved one may qualify for the treatment.
To be effective, mAbs must be given within 10 days of the first symptoms of COVID-19, so it’s important to act quickly.
MY LOVED ONE IS IN THE HOSPITAL WITH COVID-19. WHAT ARE THEIR TREATMENT OPTIONS?
If your loved one has been hospitalized because they have more severe symptoms of COVID-19, they aren’t eligible for mAb treatment. However, they may qualify for other promising treatments.
How Does Treatment Work?
When a person has a COVID-19 infection, their immune system works to reduce the amount of virus in their body. In some cases, this immune reaction is too strong; it may even continue after the virus has been removed from the body. This extreme reaction may contribute to more serious symptoms, such as problems with breathing, that require staying in the hospital.
Researchers are testing treatments that “calm the storm” of an immune system overreaction and help the patient’s body continue to heal.
So, if your hospitalized loved one receives treatment for COVID-19, it could help to:
- Keep their COVID-19 symptoms from getting worse.
- Reduce the need for them to be placed on a ventilator to help them with breathing.
- Shorten their hospital stay.
WHAT IF I DON’T QUALIFY FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENT?
Your healthcare provider may decide you don’t qualify for mAb treatment. There could be several reasons for this. You may not meet all of the eligibility criteria, or you may have an underlying health condition that disqualifies you for mAb treatment.
Whatever the reason is, don’t give up. There could be another option. You may be able to join a clinical trial for COVID-19.
Participants in these clinical trials may receive new drugs or other treatments, so scientists can evaluate how well the treatments work. Thousands of participants in clinical trials have helped with the discovery of new treatments for COVID-19, and many more participants are needed to ensure that treatments work for people across age, gender, race, and ethnicity.
Ask your healthcare provider if you may be eligible for a clinical trial for treating COVID-19. To learn more about clinical trials, visit our page, You Can Help Combat COVID, or call 877-414-8106.
HOW DO I GET TREATMENT FOR MY LOVED ONE?
If your hospitalized loved one is being treated for COVID-19, they’ll receive standard treatments for COVID-19. They may receive remdesivir or other options authorized for emergency use for hospitalized patients.
Your loved one may also be eligible for a research study called a clinical trial. Clinical trials around the country are testing drugs that treat problems associated with COVID-19. Clinical trials are more than just studies: they’re helping many hospitalized patients recover from COVID-19 and return home sooner.