(Willmar MN-) Beginning this week, Carris Health – Rice Memorial Hospital is participating in a national clinical trial to provide access to and determine the safety of convalescent plasma in the treatment of COVID-19. The study is being led by the Mayo Clinic and is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Carris Health is one of more than 2,000 health systems across the country to test this experimental therapy, which involves transfusing the antibody-rich blood serum (plasma) of recovered COVID-19 patients into people still fighting the illness in hopes that it may boost their ability to fight the virus. This process has worked in previous outbreaks of respiratory diseases and some early data suggests that it might work for some who suffer from COVID-19.
“We are proud to play a part in this important study with far-reaching global public health benefits," said Dr. Fred Hund, hospitalist and chief of staff at Carris Health – Rice Memorial Hospital. "The use of convalescent plasma as a passive immunization technique is a method proven effective in the past for other diseases such as diphtheria, H1N1 influenza, SARS and Ebola. This nationwide research study depends on recovered coronavirus patients making donations to the program. Our goal is to help patients recover and to save lives."
At Carris Health, physicians, nurses, blood bank, and laboratory staff will collaborate to enroll select patients into the study. Patients who fit the study criteria will receive plasma provided from the American Red Cross. As part of the study, the patients will receive follow-up assessments.
For people interested in donating convalescent plasma to hospitalized COVID-19 patients, they must meet standard donation requirements and demonstrate IgG antibodies. You can find more information on the American Red Cross website. Carris Health and CentraCare are also contacting patients who had a COVID positive result at least 14 days ago or a positive IgG antibody test to see if they would be willing to make a plasma donation.