COVID-19 treatment bebtelovimab: What you need to know

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What is it?

Bebtelovimab is an FDA-authorized investigational monoclonal antibody treatment that was developed by Eli Lilly.

Not all authorized monoclonal antibodies have worked against all of the SARS-CoV-2 variants.

However, data showing bebtelovimab’s efficacy against Omicron and its BA.2 subvariant prompted the FDA to authorize the drug through a EUA.

It is meant for people who have a current COVID-19 infection.

When it was authorized: February 2022.

Who can get it: Adults and children ages 12 and up who weigh at least 88 pounds. They must have a positive COVID-19 test result and be at high risk for developing severe COVID-19.

How you take it: An intravenous injection is given for at least 30 seconds. Patients are observed by a health care provider for at least an hour after injection. Bebtelovimab must be given within seven days of symptom onset.

Side effects: There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of bebtelovimab for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19, according to the FDA fact sheet.

The sheet also provides a list of potential side effects the FDA recommends reporting to a medical provider, and reports that allergic reactions can happen during and after injection.

Because bebtelovimab is still being studied, it’s possible that all of the risks aren’t yet known.

How it works: It binds to the spike protein that causes COVID-19, similar to other monoclonal antibodies that have shown efficacy against hospitalization and death from the disease.

How well it works: The EUA for bebtelovimab was supported by clinical and nonclinical data that showed it has efficacy against Omicron and its BA.2 subvariant.

The clinical data was based on a Phase 2 trial that treated non-hospitalized patients with bebtelovimab alone or together with another drug called etesevimab.

That study is available in a preprint, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

What else you should know: There is limited experience treating pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.

So, those patients should discuss their options and specific situation with their health care provider.

The NIH considers this to be an alternative treatment, which should be used only when neither of the NIH-preferred therapies (Paxlovid and remdesivir) are available, feasible to use, or clinically appropriate.

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