Covid-19 Treatment Options

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Did you know there are treatment options for COVID-19?

The best way to prevent COVID-19 and reduce symptoms is to stay up-to-date on your vaccines and boosters. (Click here to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine now!)

If you do test positive for COVID-19, there are two treatment options that might be available to help ease your symptoms and get you on the road to recovery quicker. The first treatment option is the antiviral pill. There are two antiviral pills: Paxlovid (developed by Pfizer) and Monlupiravir (developed by Merck.)

How do the antiviral pills work?

Paxlovid and Monlupiravir are antivirals that work by stopping the viral replication process, which reduces a person’s viral load and lessens the severity of their symptoms. However, the way the two drugs function is slightly different. Paxlovid is a protease inhibitor because it blocks a part of the virus’ life cycle. Protease inhibitors bind to the enzyme the virus uses to replicate and prevent the production of new viral particles. 

Monlupiravir is a nucleoside analogue, which means it stops the viruses’ genetic material from being accurately replicated, rendering new viral particles noninfectious.  Clinical trials of both drugs were successful and the results showed the pills were much more effective than placebos. Pfizer’s clinical trial found Paxlovid reduced a person’s risk of hospitalization by 89% when given within three days of symptom onset. Merck’s clinical trial showed Monlupiravir cut the rate of hospitalization or death by 30% when the drug was given within five days of symptoms onset.

Both pills require a five-day course of treatment. Most people who are prescribed Paxlovid take three tablets at the same time, twice a day. StarMed offers both Monlupiravir and Paxlovid pills to treat COVID-19, and the pills are most effective when taken within five days of being diagnosed.
The second treatment option is monoclonal antibody injection therapy.

How does monoclonal antibody therapy work?

To best explain how this treatment works, first we’ll share a little background on antibodies.

Antibodies are proteins created by certain cells in your immune system to recognize and destroy harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses. After fighting off the infection, the cells are able to remember the invaders, quickly recognize them and produce protective antibodies again.

Monoclonal antibodies are man-made versions of the antibody proteins made by the human body. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians and researchers have been working on a coronavirus cure. One effort has been to determine which antibodies can fight the COVID-19 virus, isolate them, replicate them in a lab setting, and then mass-produce them to use as treatment. Hence the creation of COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is given in a single infusion. The treatment works by providing the body with a large quantity of antibodies that attach to the virus particle that causes COVID-19, which then prevents the virus from attaching to and entering cells in the body. This therapy has been proven to keep patients from worsening to the point of requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 by 87%! The infusion should be given as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test and within 10 days of the onset of COVID symptoms.

So…which treatment option is better?

Both the antiviral pills and monoclonal antibody therapy are effective treatments for COVID-19. 

A few factors that might determine the best treatment for you are:

  • Your health history and any chronic conditions you may have
  • When you tested positive – the monoclonal antibody therapy can be prescribed within 10 days of symptom onset, while the antiviral pills can only be prescribed within five days of symptom onset
  • Availability of treatment options

The best way to choose the right treatment option is to schedule an appointment with us as soon as you receive a positive COVID-19 test. Through a virtual visit, a provider will determine which treatments you’re eligible for and can either have the antiviral pills mailed right to your door, or schedule your monoclonal antibody therapy.

Neither of these treatments is a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine now!