University Hospitals Participating in COVID-19 Plasma Treatment Study

University Hospitals is participating in a convalescent plasma study, where COVID-19 patients will be infused with blood from people who have recovered from the virus.
University Hospitals is participating in a blood plasma study, where COVID-19 patients will be infused with blood from people who have recovered from the virus. [UH Cleveland]
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Updated: May 21, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

University Hospitals enrolled its first participant in a new clinical trial testing blood plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients.

UH is one of three Ohio hospitals participating in the study, which will infuse COVID-19 patients with plasma from people who have recovered from the virus.

Researcher Dr. Eiran Gorodeski said there is promising evidence that COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in their blood that can help others fight the infection.

“We have this illness that we’re struggling with that does not have a cure,” Gorodeski said. “Many of us in the scientific world believe this may be helpful for patients while we’re rapidly trying to figure out more definitive treatments that can be mass produced at larger scales.”

Gorodeski said the treatment will be given to patients who are hospitalized with serious heart or respiratory complications from the virus, because the plasma is in short supply.

“We have to make really careful choices about how we use this scarce resource,” Gorodeski said. “There must be a sweet spot whereby we can identify patients who have a disease that is at risk of progressing to poor outcomes, whereby … the therapy of this convalescent plasma may help them avoid having poor outcomes.”

The hospitals have partnered with blood banks Hoxworth Blood Center and Vitalant in the state to receive plasma for the trial, which will allow them to treat participants quickly.

Gorodeski said people who are interested in donating plasma can visit these blood banks’ websites to see if they qualify for this trial. He also said they can contact the American Red Cross.

The Christ Hospital and Mercy Health in Cincinnati are also involved in the study.

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