CHICAGO, IL | November 10, 2021
While the goal is to stop the spread of COVID-19, every day more people contract the disease. It is important for all Americans, and especially high-risk individuals, to be aware of the treatment options in case they become ill with COVID-19. Through the new Treating COVID-19 Campaign, the American Lung Association is educating the public about available outpatient COVID-19 treatment options.
COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and severe illness from COVID-19. No vaccine is 100% effective, so the Lung Association recommends these three steps to take if you suspect you have COVID-19:
1. Get Tested for COVID-19 Right Away. A viral test will let you know if you have a current infection. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Fully vaccinated people should be tested 5-7 days after their last exposure.
- People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested immediately and again 5-7 days after their last exposure if the first test was negative.
2. Evaluate Your Risk for Severe Illness. Some high-risk conditions include: 65 years or older, being a current or former cigarette smoker, are overweight, have a chronic lung, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, are pregnant or immunocompromised.
3. Speak to your healthcare provider about available treatment options if you test positive. There are treatments available that may help prevent severe illness, but they need to be taken right away – at least within 10 days of when symptoms appear.
“Monoclonal antibody therapies for COVID-19 are an important innovation to help treat the disease,” said Albert Rizzo, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. “Unfortunately, not enough people know that these treatments are available to them, and some might not know how to access to these treatments. Treatments are free, widely available, and more efforts should be made to ensure that the communities most affected by COVID-19 have equitable access to monoclonal antibodies.”
Monoclonal antibody therapies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Treatments are given as an intravenous (IV) infusion or injection delivered at a doctor’s office, infusion center or outpatient center Currently, there are three monoclonal antibody treatments available for outpatient treatment of COVID-19 that have been granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
Monoclonal antibody treatments are used for patients who test positive for COVID-19, who are over 12 years old, are experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms and who are at high risk of hospitalization. The goal of treatment is to lessen symptom severity and help reduce hospitalization or death from COVID-19. While not a replacement for vaccination, this treatment is a proactive step that can be taken once infection is confirmed in an individual at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
For more information about monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, visit Lung.org/Treating-Covid.
This educational initiative is supported by Regeneron and GlaxoSmithKline.
For media seeking an interview with a lung health expert, contact Jill Dale at [email protected] or at 312-940-7001.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.