When given early, monoclonal antibody therapies keep hospitalization rates low in high-risk adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, according to a real-world study from the Mayo Clinic. 

Investigators compared the results of early treatment with Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab and Regeneron’s casirivimab-imdevimab in nearly 3,600 patients. All had at least one medical comorbidity and the median age of participants was 62 years. 

Patients treated with either of two drug therapies had similarly low rates of hospitalization within 28 days, at about 4% for all-cause and 2.6% for COVID-19-related admissions, reported Ravindra Ganesh, MBBS, M.D., and colleagues. The number and type of comorbid illness were linked to hospitalizations after treatment, the authors added. Patients with chronic kidney, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and immunocompromised status, for example, were more likely to be hospitalized than their peers without these health problems.

“Our real-world clinical data confirms these observations of controlled clinical trials that monoclonal antibodies are associated with low rates of hospitalization if given early in the course of mild to moderate COVID-19,” Ganesh and colleagues concluded.

Vaccines prove their worth in a senior living COVID-19 outbreak

In related news, monoclonal antibody treatment has been offered to senior living residents in Cape Cod, MA, ever since their community began experiencing a new COVID-19 outbreak in June. While the uptake and outcome of this intervention has not yet been reported, the residents’ vaccination status appears to have played a role in keeping severe illness at bay, experts say.

Twenty-four residents have become ill, but most were fully vaccinated and either are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

The outbreak, at Maplewood at Mayflower Place in West Yarmouth, is notable in a county that has gone from more than 100 cases per day to low single digits, likely due to a high (76%) vaccination rate, according to the Cape Cod Times. The highly contagious delta gene variant is almost certainly a key culprit, epidemiologist Shira Doron, M.D., of Tufts Medical Center, told CBSN Boston.

New outbreaks have begun to spring up elsewhere on the Cape as well. But as cases have risen, hospitalizations and deaths on the Cape have so far have remained stable, underscoring the ability of the current COVID-19 vaccines to reduce mortality and hospitalization when an infection still occurs, Doron said.