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WHO IS AT HIGH RISK FOR SERIOUS COVID-19?

Eligible people may qualify for treatments to prevent serious symptoms of COVID-19.

Possible treatment options

The information on this page can help you know who is at high risk for serious COVID-19. Find out who may qualify for a COVID-19 treatment.

People who are considered at high risk may develop more serious symptoms of COVID-19. Serious symptoms may cause a person with COVID-19 to go to the hospital, be admitted into intensive care, need help breathing, and have a greater risk of death. Being at high risk depends on your health history and how long you have had COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are at high risk for COVID-19, you may qualify for:

  • Treatment before you come into contact with someone who may have COVID-19 (this treatment is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP)
  • Treatment if you test positive for COVID-19 to help reduce the seriousness of your symptoms

What makes someone at a higher risk for more serious symptoms of COVID-19?

People can be at high risk for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • 65 years or older
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Chronic kidney disease*
  • Chronic lung diseases*
  • Chronic liver diseases*
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2*
  • Disabilities*
  • Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies)
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Immunocompromised condition or weakened immune system
  • Mental health disorders*
  • Neurologic conditions limited to dementia
  • Obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2)*
  • Primary Immunodeficiencies
  • Pregnancy and recent pregnancy
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking, current and former
  • Solid organ or hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Tuberculosis
  • Use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications

*Please see the CDC's list of current medical conditions associated with more severe COVID-19


WHAT TREATMENTS AND THERAPIES ARE AVAILABLE?

There are two main types of treatments available for people at risk who are not in the hospital: antiviral medications and mAbs (infusions). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted each of these treatments Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PrEP treatment for people who are not exposed: The mAb Evusheld is available for adults and children 12 years or older who:

  • Weigh at least 88 pounds
  • Do not have a current COVID-19 infection
  • Have not been recently exposed to someone who has COVID-19

This prescription treatment is given as a series of shots for people who may be at high risk for serious symptoms of COVID-19. Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19 and is intended for people who may not have developed a response to the vaccine because of their immune system.

Monoclonal antibody treatment

For mild to moderate COVID-19: Treatments for people who are not staying in the hospital include two oral antivirals (Paxlovid and Lagevrio), an intravenous antiviral medications (Veklury®), an a mAb (bebtelovimab). These treatments could help your immune system respond more effectively to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), reducing the chances that your symptoms will get worse.

The oral antivirals must be taken within the first 5 days COVID-19 symptoms appear. Lagevrio (molnupiravir) is for people ages 18 and older. Paxlovid is for people ages 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds. Veklury (remdesivir) should be taken within the first 7 days COVID-19 symptoms appear. Bebtelovimab should be taken within the first 7 days of when COVID-19 symptoms first appear.

Veklury is a treatment for eligible adults and children in the hospital as well as those who are not in the hospital.

The use of the mAb treatments sotrovimab, bamlanivimab/etesevimab, and REGEN-COV® (casirivimab plus imdevimab) has been paused because the Omicron variants have proven resistant to these treatments.

For people in the hospital with serious COVID-19: Treatments include the mAb tocilizumab (also called Actemra®), drugs (Veklury/remdesivir, baricitinib, dexamethasone, and corticosteroids), and convalescent plasma.

Your healthcare professional can help you decide if you are eligible for any of the above treatments. If they are unfamiliar with any of these treatments, you can direct them to the ASPR website to learn more.

Woman wearing a mask driving a car

I AM AT HIGH RISK. HOW CAN I GET A TREATMENT?

If you qualify for PrEP treatment, you do not need a positive COVID-19 test. If you do have mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19, you will need to have a positive COVID-19 test and you must have had your first symptoms within the past 5 days (for oral antivirals) or 7 days (for Veklury/remdesivir or bebtelovimab).

mAb call center: 877-322-6585

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