Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, thought it a good idea to establish popup monoclonal antibody treatment centers. Are they really necessary?
Important Takeaway: Monoclonal antibodies are not a vaccine and are least effective compared with any of the Covid-19 vaccines and are not long-lasting.
What are Antibodies?
Antibodies are proteins that your body makes in response to infection. They can cause infected cells to rupture and can even directly bind to viruses themselves blocking their ability to replicate. Antibodies are often confused with antibiotics. Antibiotics are natural or man-made chemicals that destroy bacteria. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses.
Essentially, monoclonal antibodies are synthetic antibodies that were created for one purpose, which is to bind to a particular antigen. An antigen is a chemical entity on the surface of a cell, virus, or substance that causes an immune response in the body. With the Covid-19 monoclonal antibody treatment, these antibodies seek out a particular antigen to bind to. In the case of SARS-Cov-2, this blocks the virus from spreading. It can do this by attaching to the virus directly or marking the infected cell to be destroyed by white blood cells(macrophages). So, monoclonal antibodies work with the immune system; but, they are short-lived.
You can only get a monoclonal antibody treatment if you have Covid-19 already. Unlike vaccines, they offer no lasting protection as the antibodies degrade. Luckily, however, one's immune system should have already responded to the virus, and so, it would begin to build some immunity. However, immunocompromised individuals and those with comorbidities will have less of a response naturally so monoclonal antibodies could be effective for those with low immune response.
That said, most people would not need this treatment. It's an expensive treatment priced at about $1000 compared with only about $0 to $25 for any of the vaccines(1). A research study has shown some efficacy against the wild type of SARS-Cov-2(2), but vaccines have proven more efficacious and are long-lasting. Some media sources are reporting that it works against Delta(3), but like the vaccines, there is probably an effective but reduced efficacy against such variants.
Watch the video below for a simple video that explains this process to share with your friends.