The use of antibodies is a breakthrough in the treatment of patients with a high risk of severe course of COVID-19, especially for patients with a deteriorated immune system where a vaccine offers insufficient protection. To study this monoclonal antibody therapy infectious disease physician Joost Wiersinga will receive a 1.3 million euro grant by NWO and ZonMw.

Together with Godelieve de Bree, Joost Wiersinga leads the national cohort study ‘TURN-COVID’, in which they aim to investigate the use of antibody therapies, the effectiveness, safety and costs of those therapies. Data from all patients in the Netherlands who will receive the monoclonal antibody therapy will be included in the cohort.

Vaccination in people who have a suppressed immune system (i.e. by taking drugs for reumatoïde artritis or Crohn’s disease) mostly show a deteriorated immune response or no response at all. This results in a higher risk of (a severe course of) a COVID-19 infection and thereby also a higher chance of death. First results of clinical studies indicate that when the use of monoclonal antibody therapy starts early in the process, it will decrease the risk at a COVID-19 related hospitalization or death with 70-85%.