Treatment of transplant patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies is safe and helps prevent serious disease, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. These results are especially important because transplant patients who are infected with COVID-19 have an increased risk of serious illness and death.
“Monoclonal antibody therapy is really important for transplant population because they are less likely to develop their own immunity. Providing them with these antibodies it helps them recover from COVID-19, ”says Raymund Reasonable, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study.
The retrospective study focused on the first 73 solid organs transplant patients who received infusions of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 between November 19, 2020 and January 23 at the Mayo Clinic. Eleven patients had a visit to the emergency department and nine patients were hospitalized. Most significantly, no patients are needed mechanical ventilation, died or experienced organ rejection.
“While we expected monoclonal antibody therapy to be beneficial to patients, we were pleasantly surprised by the results. Only one patient needed ICU care for indications other than COVID-19 and, most importantly, did not to have died, “said Dr. Reasonable he says.
Monoclonal antibodies help prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from adhering to human cells, which helps block the spread of infection. In the fall of 2020, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of bamlanivimab and casirivimab-imdevimab to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients at high risk for serious illness. But because the safety and efficacy of these therapies for transplant patients remained unknown due to limited clinical data, many health institutions initially hesitated to set up infusion centers, according to Dr. Reasonable.
The results of the study highlight the important role monoclonal antibodies may play a role in the treatment of transplant patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Knowing the best way to treat these patients remains crucial, as recent studies indicate that COVID-19 vaccines are not as effective for transplant patients.
“It is important that these patients have early access to treatment with monoclonal antibodies,” says Dr. Razonable. “Our data show that patient outcomes are better if infused earlier.” The lead author of the study is Zachary Yetmar, MD, Mayo Clinic. Other co-authors are Elena Beam, MD; Jack O’Horo, MD; Ravindra Ganesh, MBBS, MD; Dennis Bierle, MD; Lisa Brumble, MD; and Teresa Sevilla, MD? the entire Mayo Clinic.
Citation: Safe and Effective COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for Transplant Patients (2021, June 10) Retrieved June 10, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-monoclonal-antibody -therapy-covid-safe.html
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