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VERIFY: Monoclonal antibodies are not substitutes for vaccines

Experts said though Regeneron is a good option to have, it is more important to avoid getting the virus in the first place by getting vaccinated and wearing masks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Regeneron has become a household name in the past week. The treatment has proven to be effective to help treat patients with COVID-19, but should you fully rely on the drug?

Monoclonal antibodies, like Regeneron, have been shown to help COVID-19 patients stay out of the hospital, and even escape death.

THE CLAIM: Monoclonal antibodies are a substitute for vaccines—FALSE

SOURCES:

Right now, Regeneron is available to people over the age of 12 who already have COVID, as long as they aren’t hospitalized or severely ill.

Regeneron can also be used by those who have been exposed to the virus but did not test positive yet.

The CDC said the drug can reduce hospitalizations and deaths by 70% when given in the first 10 days of symptoms.

But, studies show the antibodies don't work well when people are already having severe symptoms and or need to be hospitalized. 

The drug is promising, but Dr. Chirag Patel with UF Health said we cannot rely on monoclonal antibodies to end the pandemic.

“If you get the vaccine, you have a much less chance of, A. Catching COVID; B. Developing severe disease; C. Ending up in the hospital with COVID; and D. passing away with COVID, than you would with any other treatment that’s out there on the market,” Patel said.

Studies show the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19, including severe illness, among people who are fully vaccinated by about 95%

Patel said though Regeneron is a good option to have, it is more important to avoid getting the virus in the first place by getting vaccinated and wearing masks.

For these reasons, we are going to verify the claim that monoclonal antibodies are a substitute for vaccines as false.