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DENVER (KDVR) — As many focus on the race to get Coloradans vaccinated against COVID-19, doctors and scientists continue to work to improve treatments for those who contract the virus.

Monoclonal Antibody treatment first gained attention last fall as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization to use it to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in adults. The treatment is more widely available now, according to Dr. Adit Ginde, a University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty member.

“We know it’s very effective at clearing and killing the virus. We’ve looked across a number of settings — outpatients with mild disease and inpatients with more moderate and severe diseases. The research, overall found if you treat early, prior to hospitalization in the outpatient setting, these agents can be very effective at helping people recover quicker and prevent them from getting worse or hospitalized,” said Ginde.

Ginde is leading a team of researchers to test the real-world effectiveness of the treatment, and to study the best way to reach potential patients including racial/ethnic minorities, older adults and those with underlying conditions.

“More recently, in the last month there have been phase three clinical trials. Advanced, larger, clinical trials for multiple agents that have shown that (the treatment) reduces hospitalizations by up to 90%,” said Ginde.

Ginde said Monoclonal Antibody treatment is most effective when used early in the infection — ideally within seven days of when symptoms begin. 

Monoclonal Antibodies are isolated from recovered COVID-19 patients. Ginde said the antibodies most effective at neutralizing and killing the virus are selected and then manufactured to create a medicine that’s administered intravenously. 

There are currently more than 30 infusion sites across the state of Colorado. Ginde said this treatment is not a replacement for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vaccine is still really important but we expect there will still be people who get sick. This is really the treatment we have to offer people early on when they get sick — especially if they’re at high risk for hospitalization,” said Ginde.