Duke Health Referring Physicians


Duke Offers Monoclonal Antibody Infusion as Early Outpatient Treatment for COVID-19

Infusion timing is crucial for preventing serious illness, hospitalization

3D rendering of COVID cells

Monoclonal antibody (mAb) infusion is now available to patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms at the Duke Health Center at Southpoint outpatient clinic. This potentially lifesaving therapy can be used to both treat COVID-19 progression in high-risk patients who test positive and prevent COVID-19 in high-risk patients who have been exposed to the virus.

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-created proteins that prevent the COVID-19 virus reaching its intended targeted and as a result stop viral replication. These proteins are modeled after highly potent antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 isolated in humans. The infusion of mAbs can help enhance the immune system’s response by supplementing the body’s antibody response to the viral infection. Importantly, this treatment is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19.

Refer a Patient

To help a patient self-refer to the Duke Health Center at Southpoint outpatient clinic, please have them call 919-385-0431.

Download and share Duke's patient education sheet on Monoclonal Antibody Infusion for Mild or Moderate COVID-19 Symptoms.

Treatment most effective for early, mild symptoms

When given within 10 days of symptom onset to high-risk patients, mAb infusion can reduce the risk of hospitalization by 70% to 85% and help people recover more quickly from the infection, explains Nwora Lance Okeke, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Duke.

“We advise that patients receive a treatment as soon as possible after they start to have COVID-19 symptoms and test positive,” Okeke says. “Even if a patient has already been vaccinated and contracts COVID-19, they may still benefit from this treatment if indicated.”

The infusion takes about 20-60 minutes to administer in an outpatient clinic that is specially designed to safely care for people infected with COVID-19. Patients are then monitored for about an hour before they can go home. Side effects are rare (less than 1 in 100) but often occur within the first hour after the infusion. Allergic reactions are possible during or after the infusion and may include shortness of breath, rash, itching or dizziness.

This treatment was approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization in November 2020 and the infusion is free to eligible patients.

Eligibility criteria for mAb treatment

All high-risk adults and high-risk youth ages 12-17 who weigh at least 88 pounds may be eligible for treatment. High-risk factors for severe illness can include:

  • older age
  • obesity or being overweight
  • chronic conditions such as kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, or respiratory disease
  • immunosuppressive disease or medication

Patients who wish to self-refer for a mAb infusion must also have a positive COVID-19 test with mild or moderate symptoms, be symptomatic for less than 10 days, and not require oxygen.

The mAb infusion is not authorized for use in patients who:

  • are hospitalized due to COVID-19
  • require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19
  • require chronic oxygen therapy due to an underlying non-COVID-19 related condition
  • are between the ages of 12-17 and weigh less than 88 pounds
  • are under age 12

To help a patient self-refer to the Duke Health Center at Southpoint outpatient clinic, please have them call 919-385-0431.

Duke Health offers helpful COVID-19 resources for you and your patients.
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