If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive free and potentially life-saving treatments. The key to effective treatment in most cases is to test early and begin treatment as soon as possible after any symptoms begin.
What treatments are available?
The FDA has authorized emergency use of several therapeutic medications to treat COVID-19. There are several different kinds of therapeutics available. It is important to get tested and contact your physician as soon as possible to talk about your treatment options.
Although these treatments are not cures, they may lessen the severity of symptoms and help keep high-risk patients out of the hospital. Treatment is available only by referral or prescription.
|Treatment||What kind of treatment is it?||Who is eligible to receive it?||When do you receive the treatment?||How long is the treatment?|
|Paxlovid||Oral antiviral (pill)||Anyone age 12+ at risk for severe COVID-19||Must begin within 5 days of symptom onset||5-day pill regimen|
|Molnupiravir||Oral antiviral (pill)||Anyone age 18+ at risk for severe COVID-19||Must begin within 5 days of symptom onset||5-day pill regimen|
|Monoclonal Antibody Treatments (mAb)||IV infusion||Anyone age 12+ at risk for severe COVID-19||Should begin within 5 days of symptoms onset||30-second IV infusion followed by 1-hour observation|
|Remdesivir||IV infusion||Infants, children, and adults at risk of severe COVID-19||Should begin within 7 days of symptoms onset||Three infusions given over three days|
Evusheld (Astrazeneca) is available as a preventive treatment for those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. Evusheld cannot be used once the person has been exposed and/or infected with COVID-19.
People at risk for severe COVID-19 may have conditions that make them more likely to be hospitalized, need intensive care, require a ventilator to help them breathe, or die. The following underlying medical conditions are risk factors that may lead to someone having severe COVID-19, including:
- Immunocompromised individuals
- Unvaccinated individuals
- Age 65+
- Chronic kidney, liver, lung, disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Cognitive disabilities
- Heart conditions
- Mental health disorders
- Smoking status
Oral antiviral treatments are pill regimens, started as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. These work by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate. The regimen involves a course of pills over five days.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins, delivered by subcutaneous or intravenous injection, that help fight the virus that causes COVID-19. mAb administration takes up to an hour, with an observation time afterward.
Evusheld, developed by AstraZeneca, is indicated for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals who are unlikely to mount an immune response to any available COVID vaccine. It is also recommended for those rare individuals who have an allergic reaction to all available COVID-19 vaccines.
Although these treatments are not cures, they may lessen the severity of symptoms and help keep high-risk patients out of the hospital. Treatment is available only by referral or prescription. Talk to your health care provider as soon as you test positive for COVID-19 so they can determine the best treatment for you.
Test to Treat
State Center Vaccination, Testing and Treatment Center, at 301 W. Preston Street, is one of more than 80 sites in Maryland participating in Test to Treat (T2T) initiatives to expand access to potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatments for all residents. Through T2T, people are able to get a rapid COVID-19 test and – if they test positive and treatments are appropriate for them – immediately receive a prescription and have their prescription filled all at one location. There may be a charge associated with these services at commercial pharmacies, but State Center services are offered Monday through Saturday, at no cost to the patient, and insurance is not required.
There are several other options for Marylanders to quickly get potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatment. Marylanders who test positive for COVID at home can use the BCCFH COVID Task Force COVID Treatment Program. Using the simple online form, anyone can self refer and answer a few questions to learn if they are eligible for treatment. They will be given the option to schedule a telehealth or phone consultation through the site — and if treatment is recommended — receive a prescription filled at the nearest participating pharmacy to them. Other T2T sites in Maryland, including free T2T services at State Center Vaccination, Testing and Treatment Site, are listed on CovidTEST.maryland.gov.
Learn more about treatment options in the GoVAX Test and Treat flyer (PDF).
Questions to Ask Your Physician
You may be eligible to receive monoclonal antibodies if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or were recently exposed, and are at a greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Here are some questions you can discuss with your physician:
- I have tested positive for COVID-19, what treatments are available for me?
- I have “cold” symptoms, should I get a test for COVID-19?
- I am taking medications that make me more susceptible to infections and change my immunity. Is there any medication I can take to prevent a COVID-19 infection?
Any provider, including primary care and urgent care providers, are able to make referrals. Patients with symptoms and a positive COVID-19 test can also self-refer to the BCCFH using this link.
Supply of mAbs is limited and skilled nursing facilities are being prioritized for distribution of therapeutics. Speak to a provider as soon as possible after you test positive to discuss your care options, which may include prescribed antiviral therapy for individuals at high risk.
While monoclonal antibody treatments are free if you meet the requirements, there may be an administration fee. Please check with your insurance provider.