Manitoba

Some COVID-19 patients in Manitoba to be offered monoclonal antibody treatment

Unvaccinated and immunocompromised people in Manitoba with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms have a newly available treatment after the province announced it would offer monoclonal antibody treatment.

Unvaccinated, immunocompromised among those who may be offered treatment

An electron microscope image shows particles, in orange, of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibody treatment uses laboratory-made antibodies to give people with no prior antibodies to COVID-19 an initial immune response that may prevent serious illness, according to the province. (NIAID/National Institutes of Health via The Associated Press)

Unvaccinated and immunocompromised people in Manitoba with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms have a newly available treatment after the province announced it would offer monoclonal antibody treatment.

The one-time intravenous treatment, which is available by referral only, can be given early on to unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and immunocompromised people who meet certain criteria.

Manitoba Shared Health laid out three specific groups of people who may be offered the treatment in a memo to health-care providers dated Nov. 20, 2021, and posted on its website:

  • People 40 years of age and older who have no previous history of COVID-19 infection and who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people between the ages of 18 and 40, who have health conditions such as diabetes, smoking, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease or cancer.
  • Immunocompromised adults, including those receiving active treatment for solid tumours, some organ transplant patients, and patients receiving a number of drugs that suppress their immune systems. 

The province stresses in the memo that unvaccinated patients should be encouraged to get the COVID-19 shot, but wait 90 days after their monoclonal antibody treatment.

Health Canada approved the treatment based on limited clinical testing or reviews of its safety, efficacy and quality, the province says on its website. 

The treatment uses laboratory-made antibodies to give people with no prior antibodies to COVID-19 an initial immune response that may prevent serious illness, according to the province. Monoclonal antibodies give a patient's body temporary antibodies faster than the body can make them.

It may be given early on in the disease to people who are at risk of developing severe illness.

Once patients receive a referral from a health-care provider for the treatment, they can receive it at a number of select locations across the province.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said monoclonal antibody treatment spurs the development of antibodies. In fact, the treatment uses laboratory-made antibodies to give people with no prior antibodies an initial immune response.
    Dec 24, 2021 5:49 PM CT

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