UH studying use of convalescent plasma to improve health of COVID-19 patients – Crain’s Cleveland Business

University Hospitals is participating in a study to determine if plasma donated from someone who's recovered from COVID-19 can improve the health of patients battling the virus.

Because patients who've recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood that could help fight the virus, it is thought that those suffering complications from COVID-19 might improve faster if they receive plasma from the people who've recovered, according to a news release.

Headed at the Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, the study currently has three participating sites in Ohio. Being a part of the study enhances UH's ability to quickly get plasma for patients who need it, according to the release.

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

Filby is a co-investigator for the study, along with Dr. Eiran Gorodeski, an internist and cardiologist at UH Cleveland Medical Center, and Dr. Katharine Downes, a pathologist.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, fatigue, dry cough, headache and more. In addition to respiratory distress, COVID-19 can affect the cardiovascular system. No FDA-approved medicine currently exists to treat or prevent COVID-19, according to the release.

To receive plasmas as part of this study, patients must be hospitalized with COVID-19 and be experiencing "serious complications," including myocardial injury, according to the release.

Blood donations will be collected from patients who are determined recovered and cleared from COVID-19 and who are found to have developed antibodies in their plasma. UH is partnering with Hoxworth Blood Center and Vitalant to provide donations for the study.

"Offering experimental COVID-19 convalescent plasma transfusion to our patients gives us another option to fight COVID-19," Downes said in a prepared statement. "UH appreciates our partnership with the blood suppliers that are crucial to making this happen."

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