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SAN DIEGO — After the United States Food and Drug Administration approved two monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 treatment Friday to children and newborns, doctors say it will help those infected with the virus or those who have been exposed. 

Two monoclonal antibodies treatments, bamlanivimab and etesivimab, will be available at Monoclonal Antibody Regional Centers across San Diego County.

“Monoclonal antibody is one of the potential treatments we have for both treatment of patients who were just exposed to COVID, but not ill enough to require oxygen or to be hospitalized,” said Michael Butera, an infectious disease doctor at Alvarado Hospital. “And it was also approved for what is called post exposure.”

The monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens like viruses.

“It’s very useful, early on in the infection if you’re recently exposed, preferably within the first three days and certainly the first ten days of illness to try to prevent either the severity of Illness or any of the clinical manifestations of the illness,” Butera said.

The health expert says there was an increase in hospitalizations with the delta variant and an increase in young patients requiring ventilators.

“Anything that can give us a heads up to try to decrease the severity of the illness and those infected or prevent symptomatic illness in those who are exposed adds to our ability to fight this epidemic,” Butera said.

It is too early to tell if these treatments will work against the omicron variant, he added.