Vaccine vs. Antibody: What’s the difference? Bridgeport expert has the answer

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 5:10 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - For months, COVID antibody treatments have been in scarce supply across the country.

And now, the federal government is halting some of those treatments, claiming they’re not as effective against the widespread omicron variant.

West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh says omicron accounts for 94 percent of cases in west Virginia and it’s the same nation-wide.

“...and because of that characteristic, the federal government has found through research through the CDC and other investigators that these antibodies are very specific to spike proteins on the virus,” said Dr. Marsh.

Marsh says the federal government is discontinuing two major monoclonal antibody treatments.

Even though some of them are no longer authorized for use in West Virginia, there are other therapies that do work.

“The one antibody that does is produced by GlaxoSmithKline called sotrovimab,” said Dr. Marsh.

So what’s the difference between getting the vaccine and getting antibodies?

Dr. Mark Povroznik from the United Hospital Center in Bridgeport has the answer.

“COVID vaccines help stimulate and prepare our own immune system to respond once we are exposed to the virus and remember the monoclonal antibodies are supporting our immune system only after we’ve been infected.”

Antibodies are prioritized for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms who are at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, or death.

“There is a short supply across the mountain state and in the united states a short supply of effective monoclonal antibodies which is the second issue I bring up first you have to have ‘em two they have to be effective”, said Dr. Povroznik.

The antibodies have to be received within ten days after development symptoms to be effective.

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