Uptake Low for Monoclonal Antibodies for COVID-19

Use peaked in January and declined in early 2021, at the time of the vaccine rollout



WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Uptake of monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 is low, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Timothy S. Anderson, M.D., from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues examined outpatient medical claims from the Symphony Health medical claims database to assess trends in use of monoclonal antibody treatments (bamlanivimab, casirivimab/imdevimab, and bamlanivimab/etesevimab) for COVID-19 between Nov. 9, 2020, and April 11, 2021.

The researchers found that 69,377 patients received monoclonal antibody treatment, while 20 million cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed during the study period. The most used treatment was bamlanivimab (84.6 percent), followed by casirivimab/imdevimab (12.8 percent) and bamlanivimab/etesevimab (2.6 percent). Characteristics of patients receiving the treatments were age younger than 65 years (57.5 percent), female gender (53.8 percent), having commercial insurance (62.3 percent), and being located in the South (50.8 percent). Medicaid beneficiaries comprised 10 percent of the database but only 3.3 percent of those receiving monoclonal antibodies. Weekly use of monoclonal antibodies peaked the week of Jan. 4, 2021, with 7,243 treatments given.

“These medications were authorized on the cusp of the largest surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations and the initial stages of vaccine rollout, so health systems may not have had capacity to launch monoclonal antibody clinics immediately,” Anderson said in a statement. “However, we expected to see continued growth in their use over time and were surprised to find a sharp decline in monoclonal antibody use throughout early 2021.”

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