UVA doctor speaks future of monoclonal antibodies and COVID-19

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 2:09 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There are two different COVID-19 treatments at hand: Monoclonal antibodies and antivirals. The first one is designed for your immune system to gain strength and fight it off, the second attacks a present virus head on.

Doctor Taison Bell with UVA Health serves as an assistant professor of medicine in the divisions of Infectious Diseases and International Health and Pulmonary and Critical Care at the university.

“I think what’s happening is the variants are evolving too fast for monoclonals to keep up,” Dr. Bell said.

He says it’s a special drug made to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 virus and allows your immune system to more quickly recognize it. All it takes is for one potential mutation to ruin it’s ability to recognize the virus and COVID-19 has earned a reputation for variating.

“Paxlovid is very effective, and our use of that needs to really increase, especially when it comes to high-risk people,” the doctor said.

Paxlovid for example, is an antiviral, attacking the virus instead of working to build immunity. Convalescent plasma, blood from a recovered patient and Remdesivir in pill form are holding up well in clinical trials.

“I think there are some other treatments on the horizon, but I just think monoclonals are just not going to be the way going forward,” Bell said.

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