Other Therapies

The COVID-19 vaccine offers the best defense against the virus that causes COVID-19. For info on the COVID-19 vaccine, text your ZIP code to 438829 or visit our vaccine page. In addition to the vaccine, some other therapies may help if you get sick with COVID-19.

 

The therapies below are most effective when taken within the first days of illness. Start the conversation with your doctor early, so together you can develop the best course of treatment.

 

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. Several new therapies are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, helping protect patients from COVID-19 illness.

While not a miracle cure, studies show this medicine may be a promising treatment for COVID19 for certain high-risk individuals when taken within a certain window of time. It may help people who:

  • Have a positive COVID-19 test, and had symptoms for 10 days or less
  • Are at high risk of getting more serious symptoms (such as being older, pregnant, immunosuppressed, or have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or other high-risk condition) and are not severely ill enough to require hospitalization.

This treatment is available from some health care providers in SLO County for eligible patients.  We encourage patients to talk with your doctor about this treatment and whether it’s a good match for your situation. The Public Health Department helps health care providers get the treatment and set up their system for administering it by infusion or injection.

Two national resources list medical offices that may provide monoclonal antibodies:

Plus, several local health care providers in SLO County are accepting patients by appointment and are not yet listed on these national hubs:‚Äč

  • Halcyon Infusion Center in Arroyo Grande
  • Regenerative Mind Body (Dr. Timothy Jones) in Avila Beach
  • Community Health Center of the Central Coast (for enrolled CHC patients only)

Patients or their physician should call ahead to see if the medical office currently has supply and available appointments and to see if they (the patient) meet criteria to receive the treatment.

As a reminder, anyone who is experiencing symptoms of severe disease should seek care right away and not wait to inquire about monoclonal antibody treatment.

Update: Bamlanivimab and etesevimab have also received EUA authorization for those ages 0-11 (i.e. allowing for treatment of eligible newborns).

 

EVUSHELD

EVUSHELD is a combination of two long-acting antibodies that can prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cells in the body—much like the antibodies produced by vaccines.

This therapy will soon be available in SLO County for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. for whom the COVID-19 vaccines may not create strong protection.

 

Antiviral Pills

Paxlovid is a take-at-home course of pills that does not prevent disease like vaccines do, but preliminary data shows it may reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by about 88% when the pills are started within five days of becoming sick, for patients at high risk of severe illness. 

While not a miracle cure, these pills may be a promising treatment for COVID-19 for people who are at highest risk for severe illness and death. It may help people who:

  • Have a positive COVID-19 test, and had symptoms for 5 days or fewer
  • Are at high risk of getting more serious symptoms (such as being older, immunosuppressed, or have cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or other high-risk condition) and are not yet severely ill enough to require hospitalization

While availability is currently very limited as manufacturers begin to distribute this medication, it is expected to become available at pharmacies in SLO County for eligible patients in the weeks ahead. We encourage patients who have tested positive and are at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness to talk with their doctor about this treatment and whether it might be the right course of action for them.

Note for health care providers: The federal government will be allocating Paxlovid to states, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will allocate Paxlovid to jurisdictions based on new COVID-19 cases and an equity measure. Given the limited amount of Paxlovid available, product scarcity is expected. The attached Health Alert outlines suggested prioritization of patients for Paxlovid and ethical considerations in settings of limited availability.

 

Molnupiravir is a set of take-at-home pills that does not prevent disease like vaccines do, but may reduce the risk of severe illness (requiring hospitalization) and death by about 30% when the pills are started within five days of becoming sick. It has received emergency use authorization for people at high risk for severe illness for whom alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate. This medication is not currently available in SLO County. Patients who are interested in this medication should speak with their health care provider.