ROCHESTER, Minn. — Treating transplant patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies is secure and helps prevent critical illness, according to a Mayo Clinic study recently published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. These results are particularly significant because transplant patients that are infected with COVID-19 have a greater risk of severe illness and passing.
“Monoclonal antibody therapy is really important for the transplant population because they are less likely to develop their own immunity. Providing them with these antibodies helps them recover from COVID-19,” says Raymund Razonable, M.D., a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist and the study’s senior writer.
The research focused on the first 73 solid organ transplant patients who obtained monoclonal antibody infusions for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 involving Nov. 19, 2020, and Jan. 23 at Mayo Clinic. Eleven patients had an emergency department visit and nine patients were hospitalized. Most significantly, no patients required mechanical ventilation, expired or experienced organ rejection.
“While we expected monoclonal antibody therapy would be beneficial for patients, we were pleasantly surprised by the results. Only one patient required care in the ICU for non-COVID-19 indication, and, most importantly, there were no deaths,” Dr. Razonable states.
Monoclonal antibodies help prevent the virus which triggers COVID-19 from attaching to human cells, which helps block the spread of infection. In fall 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of bamlanivimab and casirivimab-imdevimab to deal with moderate to moderate COVID-19 in patients with a high risk of becoming seriously ill. But because the efficacy and safety of the therapies for transplant patients remained unknown because of the limited clinical information, many healthcare institutio