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Monoclonal Antibodies



About monoclonal antibodies (mAB)

Antibodies are proteins that people’s bodies make to fight viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies (mAB) are laboratory-made proteins that fight viruses that mimic those made by the immune system.

Monoclonal antibody treatment may be a good option for people who meet certain criteria, to help strengthen their immune system, and fight off COVID-19.

An important note about mAB treatment

mAB treatment with bamlanivimab or with casirivimab and imdevimab are for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms and do not require supplemental oxygen. Casirivimab and imdevimab must be given together. Bamlanivimab is given alone.

These treatments are allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) while clinical studies continue to look at their usefulness and safety.

COVID-19 mAB information for clinicians is available on the Health and Other Partners page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can get mAB treatment in Pima County?

Antibody treatment can be used by people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who:
  • Test positive for SARS-CoV-2. 
  • Are within 10 days of the start of their symptoms. 
  • Are age 65 or older and weigh at least 88 pounds. 
  • Are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 or of needing to be admitted to a hospital because of COVID-19.
For questions about whether you can and should get antibody treatment, call your doctor or health care provider. If you do not have a doctor or health care provider, call the Pima County Department of Health (PCHD) at (520) 724-7770.

Is mAB effective against COVID-19?

Clinical trials for MAB showed COVID-19 patients who received this treatment ended up in the hospital and emergency room less often. Early studies showed a decrease in the amount of COVID-19 virus in patient blood. Studies are on-going.

What are side effects of mAB for COVID-19?

Clinical studies are ongoing to evaluate the usefulness and safety of antibody treatment. It is possible that not all risks are known yet. Because bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab are antibody treatments, they could get in the way of your body’s own immune response to future infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or they could affect your immune response to a vaccine for COVID-19.

The most common reported side effects with bamlanivimab are nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, itchiness, and vomiting. The most common reported side effects with casirivimab/imdevimab are nausea and vomiting, hyperglycemia, and pneumonia. The side effects of getting any medicine by vein may include brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, and possible infection at the infusion site.

In clinical trials of bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab involving nearly 3,000 people, two severe allergic reactions and five serious reactions related to the delivery of the treatment into the vein were reported. All reactions were treated and resolved.

The FDA has produced a fact sheet for patients about bamlanivimab for COVID-19 and a fact sheet for patients about casirivimab/imdevimab for COVID-19 as well.

How much does mAB for COVID-19 cost?

The federal government is distributing antibody supplies at no cost to patients, until the end of 2020. However, some hospitals may bill insurance companies to administer the drug. Pima County is working to ensure that any location that gives antibody treatments is considered in network and covered by insurance. More information can be found at CMS: Coverage of Monoclonal Antibody Products to Treat COVID-19.

How do I get mAB for COVID-19?

Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about whether you should get antibody treatment and where you can get it. Supply will not meet demand when treatment first becomes available. You can see what locations have received shipments through the National Infusion Center Association: COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Center Locator.

Receiving a shipment does not mean a location is open to the public.

To get started, go to National Infusion Center Association: COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Center Locator. On the "I am a…" line, click the down arrow and choose who you are. Then, on the "Looking for…" line, click the down arrow and choose from the following answers (available answers change based on how you answer "I am a…"):
  • A first place to receive my infusions/injections. 
  • A location for a patient to receive their infusion/injections for the first time. 
  • A location for them to receive their first infusions/injections. 
On the last line, "Because…," select the answer that says why the person who will get the infusion has been placed on a new infusion/injection. Click "continue." A new map will load. Patients, providers, or family and friends can enter in their city, state, or ZIP code. The filter box contains a drop-down list of "Medications Available" that will default to "Covid Antibody Therapy." Click "Search" to find locations near you.

A health care provider must prescribe monoclonal antibody infusions.

How do I take mAB for COVID-19?

mAB therapy must be given into a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion. Antibodies may be administered only in settings where health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat any reactions and where emergency medical systems are available, if needed, and where an emergency medical system is available, if needed.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have mAB for a COVID-19 infection?

If you received antibody therapy as part of treatment for a COVID-19 infection, the CDC currently recommends that you wait 90 days after therapy to get vaccinated. If you receive antibody treatment for COVID-19 after receiving your first vaccine dose, you are advised to wait 90 days before getting your second vaccine dose. This is to avoid any potential interference between the immune responses generated by the vaccine and responses generated by antibody therapy.

Non-COVID-19-related antibody therapies (including intravenous or subcutaneous immunoglobulins, RhoGAM) for medical conditions other than COVID-19 are not believed to substantially impair vaccine protective response. Recipients of these therapies do not need to wait on vaccination and may schedule according to eligibility and their healthcare provider’s guidance.


Getting mAB for COVID-19 in Pima County

Because it is given as an IV, mAB treatment for COVID-19 is only available in certain clinical settings. This list may change.

Tucson Medical Center:

The TMC antibody infusion center treats patients with mild to moderate symptoms who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of severe illness or hospitalization.

mAB type(s): bamlanivimab; casirivimab and imdevimab
Expected appointment length: 2.5 hours. 

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 and meet the criteria can be referred by their medical provider to receive the infusion treatment. 


Banner:

3950 S. Country Club Rd., Tucson, AZ 85714
Banner Health is accepting referrals for monoclonal antibody infusion therapy. If you have patient who may be eligible for treatment, you can refer a patient to one of our infusion centers for treatment. Banner antibody infusion center treats patients at their Abrams Public Health Center facility.

mAB type(s): bamlanivimab
Expected appointment length: 2.5 - 3 hours. 

If you think you meet the criteria for mAB for COVID-19, please contact your primary doctor or schedule an appointment with a Banner Urgent Care teleheatlh provider for a referral to one of our Banner Health infusion centers. 

If you have already discussed your positive COVID result with a healthcare provider but would still like to be evaluated for treatment. You can also schedule an appointment with Banner Urgent Care to be tested for COVID-19 and be evaluated for this treatment. 


Northwest Hospital: 

6200 N La Cholla Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85741
NW Hospital is administering mAB for COVID-19 in their Emergency Department. Patients must be an Emergency Department patient to receive the infusion. Not currently accepting any outside referrals.

mAB type(s): bamlanivimab
Expected appointment length: 2.5 - 3 hours


Oro Valley Hospital:  

1551 E. Tangerine Rd., Tucson, AZ 85755
OV Hospital is administering mAB for COVID-19 in their Emergency Department. The patient must be seen as a patient in this Emergency Room and ER physicians will evaluate if the patient qualifies for mAB. At this time, mAB is only offered between 8AM to 8PM, due to pharmacy availability.

mAB type(s): bamlanivimab
Expected appointment length: 2.5 - 3 hours

St.  Joseph’s

Not participating

St.  Mary’s:

Not participating

Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital:

Not participating

Sells:

Not participating

VA:

The V.A. hospital will coordinate mAB infusions for eligible patients, as appropriate.  If you are a Veteran and receive your healthcare from the V.A. in Tucson, please contact your primary care office if you have tested positive for COVID 19. 

More information on mAB & COVID-19
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3950 S. Country Club Road
Ste. 100
Tucson, AZ 85714

(520) 724-7770

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