Penn Medicine undertakes COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Study

In a new two-part research initiative, plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 will be used to investigate how much it works for moderately and severely ill patients. The initiative at Penn Medicine focuses on convalescent plasma therapy – an experimental approach of administering a transfusion of plasma fetched from a donor who has recovered from COVID-19 to a patient who has an active infection.

Under the two-part research initiative, first, researchers will collect plasma from people who have recovered under a donor research protocol. In the second part, it involves conducting clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy if that plasma is administered to moderately and severely ill hospitalized patients.

Study Involves Efficacy of Plasma Antibodies in Recovered Patients

“Clinically, individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 rapidly develop antibody responses. As per early reports, these plasma antibodies, when administered to severely-ill patients, can boost the immune response in them,” stated an expert from the team at Penn Medicine that undertook the research.

These research protocols when developed and implemented in tandem, will provide an opportunity to learn scientific and evidence-based methods if convalescent plasma therapy works for patients. The clinical trials for the approach are going to begin soon, as it is urgent to determine if it works and is safe.

The clinical trials will involve a host of experts from some noted medical centers and research institutions in the field of coronavirus science. Meanwhile, Penn Medicine – the institution behind the initiative – is home to the world’s principal coronavirus basic science researchers with vast experience. The institution also brings with it longstanding experience of apheresis collection.

“The opportunity to partner with infectious disease specialists to carry out critically important clinical trials is a boon,” stated the expert leading the transfusion medicine team for the two-part research initiative.

Author: Rohit Bhisey

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