Message to New Yorkers — Talk to Your Doctor About Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

Monoclonal antibody treatments work to supplement the body’s immune response and can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19

Treatment should be given as soon as possible after someone tests positive COVID-19, so it is important to get tested right away if you have symptoms

March 30, 2021 — The NYC Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals today recommended that New Yorkers speak with their health care providers about monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments for COVID-19, so that eligible patients can start treatment as soon as possible. When given early after symptom onset, mAb treatments can decrease the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. This highlights the importance of testing for COVID-19 as soon as symptoms begin – the sooner someone is tested, the sooner treatment can begin.

“These treatments can make the difference between severe outcome or a mild one,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “We want all New Yorkers and health care providers to know about this important and potentially lifesaving treatment.”

“We want everyone to be aware of this potentially life-saving treatment, and that it’s available at all of our 11 hospitals,” said Andrew Wallach, MD, Ambulatory Care Chief Medical Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should discuss monoclonal antibody treatment with their doctor or they can be screened for treatment eligibility by calling 212-COVID19.”

Monoclonal antibody treatments are authorized for non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at a high risk of progression to severe disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized mAb treatments for emergency use and they are shown to be safe in clinical studies. mAbs work similarly to antibodies that the immune system makes and help fight COVID-19 while the immune system begins to make its own antibodies. Those who receive mAb treatment should wait three months after treatment before getting vaccinated.

mAb treatment is more effective if begun shortly after symptom onset. The Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals are working to ensure that health care providers and the public are aware of this important treatment option so that eligible people can seek care right away if they test positive for COVID-19. The Health Department released guidance for health care providers (PDF) today with information about the different types of mAb treatment, eligibility criteria, and referral options, along with a patient handout (PDF) to inform patients about mAb treatment and where and how to get care.

Treatment should be given as soon as possible after a patient has a positive COVID-19 test result and within 10 days of symptom onset. Certain mAb therapies may be less effective against particular SARS-CoV-2 variants and providers should consider local presence of variants in selecting therapeutic agents. Up-to-date data on variants identified in NYC can be found here.

Per the FDA’s emergency use authorization, mAb treatment is authorized for patients 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and who meet at least one of the following criteria:

Adults age 18 and older who meet one or more of the following:

  • Obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • An immunosuppressive disease
  • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Age 65 or older
  • Ages 55 to 64 and have any of the following:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Hypertension
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease

Children ages 12 to 17 with one or more of the following:

  • Obesity with a BMI greater than or equal to 85 percent of patients of the same age and gender, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Congenital or acquired heart disease
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (for example, cerebral palsy)
  • Dependence on a medical-related technology such as a tracheostomy, gastrostomy or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19)
  • Asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication

NYC Health and Hospitals offers mAb treatment at several of its outpatient facilities. Patients with a positive COVID-19 test can be screened for eligibility and scheduled for an appointment with NYC Health + Hospitals by connecting to and clicking “Talk to a Doctor Now” or they can call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) and press 9 for monoclonal antibody treatments. Patients can call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week. NYC Health + Hospitals provides care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.



MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Gallahue / Michael Lanza,