The monoclonal antibody (mAb) revolution that currently provides many new options for the treatment of neoplastic and inflammatory diseases has largely bypassed the field of infectious diseases. Only one mAb is licensed for use against an infectious disease, although there are many in various stages of development. This situation is peculiar given that serum therapy was one of the first effective treatments for microbial diseases and that specific antibodies have numerous antimicrobial properties. The underdevelopment and underutilization of mAb therapies for microbial diseases has various complex explanations that include the current availability of antimicrobial drugs, small markets, high costs and microbial antigenic variation. However, there are signs that the climate for mAb therapeutics in infectious diseases is changing given increasing antibiotic drug resistance, the emergence of new pathogenic microbes for which no therapy is available, and development of mAb cocktail formulations. Currently, the major hurdle for the widespread introduction of mAb therapies for microbial diseases is economic, given the high costs of immunoglobulin preparations and relatively small markets. Despite these obstacles there are numerous opportunities for mAb development against microbial diseases and the development of radioimmunotherapy provides new options for enhancing the magic bullet. Hence, there is cautious optimism that the years ahead will see more mAbs in clinical use against microbial diseases.