One of the things that made the early months of the pandemic so scary to live through was that doctors, researchers, and healthcare professionals had to learn via trial and error what kind of treatments are effective tools for fighting COVID-19 in individuals that have been infected by the new novel coronavirus.
One treatment that is effective and can be part of a COVID-19 treatment plan: monoclonal antibodies. The science behind this kind of treatment is fascinating, as explained in this article featured in the Mayo Clinic’s magazine:
“Antibodies are Y-shaped snippets of protein made by the immune system. They have various functions, but basically, antibodies flag things the immune system needs to investigate. For example: When a virus invades a cell, it enters across through the cell’s membrane, takes over and makes copies. These copies are released from the cell to head out and infect other cells. As the virus travels, some of these bad actors trip an immune system “red alert.” After a series of events, immune system B cells transform into plasma cells and begin to churn out antibodies. Each B cell makes millions of copies of a single antibody.
When needed, each B cell will divide into two daughter B cells that are essentially clones of the parent. These clones produce the same antibody. Antibodies stick to specific parts of the virus, recognizing different targets on the virus particle. This response is called polyclonal ― “poly” because you have many different antibodies and “clonal” because each type of antibody comes from a set of cloned B cells. If an antibody sticks to a part of the virus in a way that prevents it from getting into the cell — like the spike proteins on SARS-CoV-2 — then they are called neutralizing antibodies.
Monoclonal antibodies are drugs. They consist of one (mono-) neutralizing antibody copied (cloned) in a lab and researched for usefulness against a specific disease or condition. Monoclonal antibody drugs can be used to boost the immune system’s response or calm it down. They can be used alone or in combination with other monoclonal antibodies.”
The Minnesota Department of Health has a webpage dedicated to sharing reliable information for Minnesotans who may need treatment for COVID-19. The COVID-19 hotline is also available at 1-833-431-2053, and the hotline can direct individuals seeking treatment to clinics across the state.