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There’s new hope for older adults who remain at highest risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19:  a new and highly effective treatment option called monoclonal antibody.

Monoclonal antibody treatments work by attaching to parts of the virus and helping your immune system respond more quickly to fight it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued Emergency Use Authorizations for two monoclonal antibody treatments* for COVID-19 for people at high risk of getting very sick. This includes those age 65 years or older and people with certain chronic medical conditions.

Why is this important? Data from the Tennessee Department of Health show the toll COVID-19 has taken on senior adults:  people age 71 and up represent only nine percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, but 68 percent of COVID-19 deaths. 

Early studies suggest some people may benefit from monoclonal antibody treatment soon after they’re infected with COVID-19 and may have a lower risk of hospitalization. 

If you’re at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19, have symptoms, and test positive, your health care provider may recommend monoclonal antibody treatment in an outpatient setting to help you recover more quickly. Learn more about this new option here

Tests are Still Important

Concerned you may have been exposed to COVID-19? Get a test! Testing for COVID-19 is an important part of Tennessee’s strategy for ending the pandemic. You should consider getting tested if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You’ve been in close contact (within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19.
  • You’ve taken part in activities that put you at higher risk for COVID-19 because you can’t maintain social distance, such as traveling, attending a large gathering or being in a crowded indoor setting.
  • Your health care provider or local or state ​health department asked you to get tested.

If you do get tested, quarantine at home while waiting on your test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.

Find a testing site near you here

*Bamlanivumab and casirivimab plus imdevimab are available under FDA EUAs for people at high risk of COVID-19 disease progression and severe illness.