SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Memorial Health is offering an antibody treatment for COVID-19 that can reduce severe illness, hospitalization and death for high-risk patients with the Omicron variant.

Sotrovimab, a monocolonal antibody infusion treatment, is being administered at Memorial’s urgent care facility at 3132 Old Jacksonville Road in Springfield. The treatment has proven highly successful against Omicron, which has proven resistant to antibody treatments used to treat previous COVID variants.

 “It’s not a cure, but it does appear to slow progression and worsening of the disease,” said Dr. Anna Richie, clinical director of urgent care at Memorial. “It’s ideal for anyone with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms.”

Patients must be at least 12 years old and have a physician’s referral for the treatment. Patients seeking the treatment should first check with their primary care physician to learn if they qualify.

Richie said that the people considered “high risk” include those who are aged 65 and older, obese or have high-risk health conditions, poorly-controlled diabetes or compromised immune systems.

“Treatment decisions became difficult to make because we don’t have a quick way of knowing if a patient is infected with Delta or Omicron,” Richie said. “With Omicron variant rates now significantly higher than Delta in our region, our best bet is to use the antibody infusion treatment that is proven effective against all COVID-19 variants.”

The CDC said that Omicron cases account for about 98% of COVID cases in the country. With the stock of monoclonal antibody treatments outpacing demand across the nation, Memorial has only a “limited and restricted supply, Richie said.