UH Adds Convalescent Plasma to Arsenal of Experimental Treatments for COVID-19

Thursday, May 21, 2020

System is one of three in Ohio currently participating in study

University Hospitals is participating in a study evaluating whether infusion of plasma donated from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can improve the health of patients currently fighting the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, fatigue, dry cough and headache, among others. In addition to the common symptoms of respiratory distress, COVID-19 can also impact the cardiovascular system. Currently, no FDA approved medicine exists to treat or prevent COVID-19. People who recover from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood. Patients suffering complications from COVID-19 might improve faster if they receive plasma from those who have recovered from the disease, because those antibodies may help fight the virus.

“UH now adds convalescent plasma as another experimental trial available to help patients in Northeast Ohio,” said Dr. Eiran Gorodeski, an internist and cardiologist at UH Cleveland Medical Center, and co-investigator for the study along with Dr. Steven Filby, cardiologist, and Dr. Katharine Downes, pathologist.

“UH is at the forefront of experimental treatments including remdesivir, stem cell therapy and now convalescent plasma. Patients suffering from extreme complications of COVID-19 have hope at UH thanks to these options,” said Dr. Filby.

This study is headed at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. Currently, three sites across Ohio are participating. UH Cleveland Medical Center is the only site in Northeast Ohio offering enrollment. Patients must be hospitalized with COVID-19 and be experiencing serious complications including myocardial injury to receive plasma as part of this study. Participation in this study enhances UH’s ability to get plasma quickly for patients who need it.
“Offering experimental COVID-19 convalescent plasma transfusion to our patients gives us another option to fight COVID-19.  UH appreciates our partnership with the blood suppliers that are crucial to making this happen,” said Dr. Downes.
Blood donations will be collected from recovered COVID-19 patients who are determined cleared from the disease and found to have developed antibodies in their plasma. UH is partnering with Hoxworth Blood Center and Vitalant to provide donations of convalescent plasma through this study. People interested in donating plasma for patients in need can also do so locally by contacting the American Red Cross. Anyone wanting to donate should contact those entities directly for more information.

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