Monoclonal antibodies study in Utah shows promise against COVID-19

Aug 9, 2021, 6:08 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 12:35 pm
monoclonal antibodies study...
(Dr. Brandon Webb, infectious disease physician with Intermountain Healthcare, speaking about his study into monoclonal antibodies. Photo courtesy Intermountain Healthcare)
(Dr. Brandon Webb, infectious disease physician with Intermountain Healthcare, speaking about his study into monoclonal antibodies. Photo courtesy Intermountain Healthcare)

MURRAY, Utah — With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Utah, doctors across the state are looking for other ways to keep the number of deaths and hospitalizations down.  And researchers with Intermountain Healthcare said their research into monoclonal antibodies is extremely encouraging.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, monoclonal antibodies are “laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses.”

Currently, there are three monoclonal antibody treatments on the market.  One works effectively on the Alpha variant of COVID-19. The other treatments work on the Delta variant, which has become the more dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus.

Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare studied the treatments of nearly 600 people who received the monoclonal antibodies within seven days of feeling symptoms. The results have local doctors feeling very optimistic.

 “It was a 57 percent reduction in the rate of needing hospitalization,” said Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Disease Physician Brandon Webb.

Webb also said that people who received these antibodies were 31% less likely to need emergency care. There was also a decrease in the number of people who died after receiving the treatment.  He believes vaccination is the most effective way to protect people from the virus, but monoclonal antibodies went a long way in helping people already infected with COVID-19.

When we target the right patient population, monoclonal antibodies can be a very important tool in preventing hospitalization,” he said.

However, there is a catch.  Webb said these treatments have to happen within seven days of people feeling the initial symptoms.  If someone waits until they’re already hospitalized to ask for the treatment, the monoclonal antibodies are not effective.

“We really need to encourage patients to get tested early after their symptoms start,” Webb said.

Are these treatments readily available in Utah?

Yes. And, no.  Webb said there isn’t any shortage of monoclonal antibodies, but they can’t be given in any kind of hospital setting.  Instead, they have to be given intravenously at emergency departments and infusion centers, similar to where people would get chemotherapy.  So while there are plenty of antibodies, there might not be enough workers at an infusion center to administer them. 

Webb said the state has formed a committee that prioritizes patients asking for antibody treatment.

“That [committee] has set eligibility criteria for monoclonal antibody therapy so that we are matching demand with capacity,” according to Webb.

Officials with Intermountain said they’ve placed treatment centers across the state and that nobody living near the I-15 corridor is more than an hour’s drive away.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States


Today’s Top Stories


intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
22 hours ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
22 hours ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
22 hours ago
Intermountain milestone 1 million tests...
Mark Jones

Intermountain Healthcare purchases land near Ephraim

Intermountain Healthcare has plans to develop 35 acres of land in the Ephraim area into a new hospital.
2 days ago
At 5800 So. 1400 W. you find an irrigation canal that attracts  a lot of waterfowl, seagulls and ev...
Mark Jones

Officials warn of additional cases of avian influenza

With the fall migration of wild waterfowl, state officials are warning bird owners to be prepared for additional cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or avian influenza.
2 days ago
Utah homes are recording high levels of radon gas. 
Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News...
Heather Kelly and Elizabeth Weiler

Utah homes have some of the highest levels of radon gas

New research finds that Utah homes have the 5th highest levels of radon gas when compared to the rest of the nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that one in 15 homes in the U.S. have dangerous levels of radon gas. Utah is at much higher risk, as the agency found one in […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Monoclonal antibodies study in Utah shows promise against COVID-19