WHO recommends antibodies for two specific groups of COVID patients

The World Health Organization recommends that antibodies be used with two specific groups of COVID-19 patients to help ensure they survive the disease. There are two recommendations in the latest update on the topic, both based on evidence and data from a number of trials — some of which haven't yet been peer-reviewed.

The recommendation covers a combo of imdevimab and casirivimab, two antibodies that help patients' bodies fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Two specific groups of people are covered by the recommendation: patients who are at high risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19 even if they have a milder case, as well as patients whose bodies haven't mounted antibody responses against the virus.

That latter group is reserved for patients who have severe or critical COVID-19 infections, with WHO citing the RECOVERY trial's data on how these two antibodies reduced death rates among patients who have severe/critical infections. The antibodies also reduced the need for ventilators in patients whose immune systems weren't able to produce antibodies against the virus.

The recommendation to give these antibodies to non-severe at-risk patients, meanwhile, is based on three trials, which are still awaiting peer review. The data from these trials indicate that giving antibodies to these patients may reduce how long the COVID-19 symptoms last and their risk of hospitalization.

The World Health Organization explains that giving these antibody treatments to other COVID-19 patients is "unlikely to be meaningful." The organization notes that these recommendations are made under its living guidelines, which are updated when new data is available. As well, WHO says that it is possible new variants may arise against which these antibodies are less effective.