Updated: Jan 24
A series of not yet peer-reviewed preliminary studies suggest that the monoclonal antibody treatment utilizing the artificial versions of natural antibodies seems to be less effective in treating COVID-19, especially if caused by the Omicron variant. This recently discovered evidence follows the World Health Organization's latest recommendation not to use natural antibodies from convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19.
Monoclonal-antibody treatments for COVID-19 either contain a single antibody or a combination of several antibodies aiming to bind to SARS-CoV-2's spike protein, preventing the virus from entering and infecting human cells, thus reducing the risk of severe COVID-19 by up to 85%. Since the Omicron variant carries many mutations concentrated on its spike protein, there has been a considerable shift in antibodies' effectiveness against Omicron. Of the many antibodies tested, even the most effective ones against prior variants showed a significantly diminished effectiveness against the Omicron.
Fortunately, despite its very high transmissibility, Omicron does not seem to be causing severe illness. However, if the Omicron variant changes its course and begins to show signs of causing severe symptoms, scientists worry they'll lose a vital tool in preventing severe disease.