RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Monoclonal antibodies are infusion-based therapies used to treat COVID-19 infections. Can the same kind of technology be used to prevent COVID-19? It’s a question Duke has been tapped to answer.

Duke Health reported the Duke Human Vaccine Institute received $7.6 million in federal funding to research the use of monoclonal antibodies as a preventative tool.

Under the story, Duke would manufacture COVID-19 attacking antibodies starting late this year with clinical trials beginning in early 2021.

The research would be done under the Pandemic Prevention Program. This brings together experts from a number of specialties with a goal of developing a better way to respond to pandemic viral outbreaks using monoclonal antibodies.  

Earlier this month, the FDA authorized a preventative treatment for people who have been exposed to COVID-19. The treatment is available for people 12 years of age and older.

The FDA reported a 80-percent reduction in symptomatic infection for people who underwent the treatment after exposure to an infected person. To qualify, patients must be:

  • at high risk for severe COVID-19 and
  • not fully vaccinated or not expected to mount an adequate immune response to complete COVID-19 vaccination (like the immunocompromised) and
    • have been exposed to an infected person or
    • at high risk of exposure to an infected person because you and those around you are at high risk for infection (for example, nursing homes or prisons)

If you’re infected with COVID-19 now, click here to find a treatment center near you.