Antibody treatment for COVID-19 available to unvaccinated, immunocompromised Manitobans

WINNIPEG –

An antibody treatment for COVID-19 is now available to Manitobans who are not fully vaccinated or immunocompromised.

Monoclonal antibodies are a one-time treatment to boost immune response to the virus and may prevent serious illness. Health Canada has authorized the use of the treatment based on limited clinical testing in humans, and reviews of safety, efficacy, and quality.

The province’s website says, when administered in the early phase of infection, the treatment has been shown to “significantly prevent hospitalization or death in patients with prior COVID-19 antibodies.”

Monoclonal antibody treatment gives the body temporary antibodies faster than the body can make them. The province’s website says the treatment is being offered now as an “additional way to help reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.”

The treatment is being offered to Manitobans who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms that have started within the last week.

“Early testing is important as a treatment is only effective in the early phase of the infection,” Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba’s deputy chief provincial public health officer, said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 media briefing.

Additionally, individuals must meet the criteria in one of three categories:

  •  Be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, have no history of COVID-19 infection, and be 40 or older.
  • Be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, have no history of COVID-19 infection, be between the ages of 18 and 40, and have a serious health condition including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Be 18 or older (regardless of vaccination status or prior COVID-19 infection), and be immunocompromised due to a medical condition.

“While not a substitute for vaccination, monoclonal antibody treatment can help reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in those that are at high risk of severe illness,” Dr. Atwal said.

Atwal said the treatment is administered by intravenous infusion.

The province says individuals who receive monoclonal antibodies should still get vaccinated because the treatment doesn’t offer the same protection. However, the province says people who receive the treatment must wait 90 days before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Monoclonal antibody treatment is available by referral. More information is available through the province’s website.

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