What are monoclonal antibodies? (And why do we need them?)

Jul 27, 2020
These antibodies are likely the "gold standard" for treating an active disease, or for those likely to develop it due to exposure risks. They would offer almost instant neutralization for viral infections, and likely provide a much less problematic recovery for those with symptoms.

Unfortunately for some of us, it is a "double gold standard". You will likely need a lot of cash to get some of this into your blood, and some serious connections as supplies are limited. An effective vaccine is clearly the lowest cost approach, and almost certain to limit the manufacture of these specific antibodies. The monoclonals do not provide immunization, but only short term protection and treatment.

It is important to appreciate that these (current) monoclonal antibodies are also subject to obsolescence if the virus mutates sufficiently to reduce their binding affinity. They could in fact become hazardous to use at some point if they induce antibody-dependent enhancement of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2. But, they can always make different ones to contend with any new mutant forms.

Last edited: