FDA clears emergency use of lab-made antibodies to treat COVID-19

The FDA just cleared a medical advance that could play an important (if limited) role in treating COVID-19 patients. The administration has granted emergency use authorization for Regeneron’s lab-made monoclonal antibodies (a combo of casirivimab and imdevimab) to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infections that are at “high risk” of developing into severe cases. Patients must be 12 years or older, but the FDA said the prime candidates were 65-plus or had some chronic medical issues.

The antibodies are proteins mimicking the immune system’s virus-fighting abilities. Regeneron’s cocktail is chiefly targeted at the new coronavirus’ spike protein, preventing it from attaching to cells and thus lowering the overall viral load. The treatment appears to be at least somewhat effective. Hospitalizations and emergency room trips were noticeably lower in test receipients than for a placebo group, at 3 percent versus 9 percent.