What you need to know
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, you may have a new treatment option: bamlanivimab (bam-la-NIV-i-mab). The research so far shows that for certain people, taking this drug may help limit the amount of virus in the body. This may help their symptoms improve sooner — and they may be less likely to need to go to the hospital. But bamlanivimab is a new drug that’s still being studied, so there’s a lot that scientists don’t know about the benefits and risks.
Here, you'll learn about COVID-19 and this new treatment — including its possible benefits and side effects. Together, you and your doctor can decide if this treatment is right for you.
Important facts about bamlanivimab
Bamlanivimab is an investigational medicine used for the treatment of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized adults and adolescents 12 years of age or older with mild to moderate symptoms who weigh 88 pounds (40 kg) or more, and who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or the need for hospitalization.
- Bamlanivimab has not been approved, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA
- Bamlanivimab is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of the bamlanivimab under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.
For information on the authorized use of bamlanivimab and mandatory requirements under the Emergency Use Authorization, please review the Fact Sheet for Patients, Parents and Caregivers (English) or Fact Sheet for Patients, Parents and Caregivers (Spanish).
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and having trouble breathing.
Some people with COVID-19 have many symptoms, and some have few or no symptoms. And though most people get better within 2 weeks, some people are very sick for a long time — or even die.
There’s no way to know for sure who will get very sick with COVID-19, but some people are at higher risk, including older adults and people with certain health conditions.
What is bamlanivimab?
Bamlanivimab, pronounced: (bam” la niv’ i mab)
Bamlanivimab is a neutralizing antibody drug. When there’s a virus in your body, like COVID-19, your immune system makes antibodies to fight it off. But it takes time for your body to make antibodies for a new virus — and in the meantime, you could get very sick.
Bamlanivimab contains man-made antibodies that are similar to the antibodies of patients who recovered from COVID-19. Scientists think that these antibodies may help limit the amount of virus in your body. This could give your body more time to learn how to make its own antibodies. Bamlanivimab does not have any COVID-19 virus in it.
In a clinical trial, scientists found that bamlanivimab may limit the amount of virus in the body for people with COVID-19 who take the drug within 10 days of symptoms starting. They may also be less likely to need to go to the hospital.
Who is this drug for?
Bamlanivimab is a treatment option for people with COVID-19 who:
- Are age 12 or older
- Weigh 88 pounds or more
- Have had mild to moderate symptoms for 10 days or less
- Are at high risk to get very sick from COVID-19
- This drug is not for people who are already in the hospital because of their COVID-19 symptoms
For pediatric patients age 12-17, bamlanivimab may be an option if you:
- Have obesity, with a BMI higher than 85 percent of patients your same age or gender
- Have heart disease, sickle cell disease, or a long-term lung disease
- Have a developmental condition, like cerebral palsy
- Regularly use medical technology, like a ventilator or feeding tube
For adults, bamlanivimab may be an option if you:
- Are age 65 or older
- Have obesity, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
- Have diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or a condition that weakens the immune system
- Take medication that weakens the immune system
- Are age 55 or older and have heart disease, high blood pressure, or a long-term lung disease
If you’re not sure whether bamlanivimab is right for you, talk with your doctor.