Antibody therapy aims to provide added protection for those at risk of severe COVID-19 infection

As more people receive COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, some people with a compromised immune system or a history of bad reactions to vaccines may need alternate options.

One of those options is an antibody-based therapy.

On Thursday, Jennifer Pate got her second round of COVID-19 fighting antibodies.

According to Houston Methodist Hospital, vaccines are less likely to produce a robust response in immunocompromised patients with weakened immune systems. So, for patients like her, Evusheld is a way around this problem.

“Evusheld hands me an immune response my body doesn’t have to do anything with and presumably I’m protected,” said Pate.

The injection is not exactly new. It first came to market in January when Pate received the first injection in Houston. The problem then was that Texas had very few doses to offer, so the criteria to get a dose was rigorous. Now, Houston Methodist said they’re able to offer it to all patients who meet these guidelines:

  • At-risk patients who are not COVID-19 positive and have not had a recent exposure.
  • For those who have moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or have received immunosuppressive medicines or treatments and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccinations;
  • Those who are vaccinated, with any available COVID-19 vaccine, according to the approved or authorized schedule, are not recommended due to a history of adverse severe reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine(s) or COVID-19 vaccine ingredients.

Pate feels Evusheld is protecting her. It’s protection she’s in need of since experts in the Texas Medical Center said earlier this week that BA.4 and BA.5 (subvariants of omicron) are taking hold in Houston, despite vaccination or previous infection, they still see a lot of cases.

“We can’t keep following each variant, we’re sort of chasing an everchanging entity,” said Dr. Paul Klotman from Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Klotman said drug manufacturers should have more options for the general public within the year, but Pate is thankful that immunocompromised patients are able to receive Evusheld.

“I’m going do that forever until we hopefully do not get to a point where it no longer works,” Pate said.

Evusheld is available at many clinics across Houston. Houston Methodist Hospital said they hadn’t had any trouble obtaining it recently, despite having a limited supply at the beginning of the year.

If you are at risk for severe COVID disease, you may want to ask your doctor about it.