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Minnesota opens new COVID-19 antibody treatment center in St. Paul

High-risk patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 are eligible.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above first aired on Aug. 30, 2021.

Minnesota health officials opened a new clinic in St. Paul Tuesday for monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatment. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says the treatment is used on an outpatient basis for high-risk patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms that started in the past 10 days. The antibodies are administered via IV. 

MDH said people 12 years old and up are eligible if they are at high risk for severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. According to MDH's webpage on the treatment, patients who are already hospitalized aren't eligible. 

Those who test positive for COVID-19 can contact their health care provider or visit the Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform to request an appointment. Officials said the clinic is not open for walk-in patients. 

The clinic is located near I-35E and Arlington Avenue West. MDH said it is partnering with Matrix Medical Network to operate it.

An MDH spokesperson said the new St. Paul clinic joins about 80 locations across Minnesota, ten of which are in the Twin Cities metro. 

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the treatment in May of this year. A Mayo Clinic study found in August that the treatment can help keep high-risk patients out of the hospital, lowering their risk of hospitalization by 60% to 70%. According to the study, even the patients who were hospitalized were less likely to need ICU treatment or die. 

MORE: Mayo Clinic: Antibody treatment promising among high-risk COVID patients

"This is a laboratory made protein. It's very specific... that's why we call it monoclonal," study author Dr. Raymund Razonable told KARE 11 in August. "It's an antibody that binds to the virus, and the binding of this antibody to the virus will prevent subsequent infection of human cells." 

Razonable said the antibodies aren't a replacement for vaccines.

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