EUGENE — PeaceHealth now is offering monoclonal antibody IV therapy, a promising treatment for patients at risk for severe complications from COVID-19.

The therapy received emergency use authorization from the Federal Drug Administration last November for certain groups of non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

PeaceHealth will initially provide the treatment at PeaceHealth Medical Group Valley River Urgent Care, which is closed to regular operations through October. Patients must have a provider referral to be eligible.

This is the first community monoclonal therapy clinic in the area.

The goal of the treatment is to prevent hospitalizations, reduce viral loads and lessen symptom severity, said Dr. Brenda Ormesher, infectious disease specialist at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

Ormesher said that monoclonal antibody therapy has been shown to reduce hospitalizations in about 70% of high-risk, COVID-positive patients.

She emphasized that the treatment is not a cure and does not provide long-term immunity. “That’s what the vaccine is for,” she said.