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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, August 28, 2020

Blood Assurance partnering with Vanderbilt on nationwide COVID-19 study




Community nonprofit blood center Blood Assurance is collecting plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 donors to be distributed to sites involved in the Passive Immunity Trial of the Nation study.

The study will test whether infusions of plasma collected from COVID-19 survivors can help other hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The plasma contains antibodies that fight against the virus that causes COVID-19.

This study comes on the heels of an announcement made this week by President Trump and the Food and Drug Administration approving the investigational therapy for emergency use nationwide. The order allows blood centers and hospitals across the nation to obtain the treatment.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences awarded Vanderbilt University Medical Center a $34 million grant to conduct the study of convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19. VUMC has partnered with Blood Assurance to collect and distribute this plasma to participating medical centers.

“As doctors, we continue to lack adequate therapies to treat patients with COVID-19,” says Todd Rice, associate professor of medicine and director of VUMC’s Medical Intensive Care Unit. “Convalescent plasma could offer promise, but we must answer this question rigorously in a randomized trial, especially for the sickest patients at increased risk of mortality.”

Blood Assurance has been collecting plasma and distributing the treatment since April as part of another ongoing clinical trial with the Mayo Clinic. To date, there have been only two randomized, controlled clinical trials, both of which were ended early without definitive results.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 and agree to participate in the study can make up to four plasma donations. Each sample will be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. Only those samples with relatively high amounts of neutralizing antibodies will be used in the study.

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients randomly will be given either infusions of plasma containing anti-SARS-CoV-2-antibodies or placebo infusions to determine what impact, if any, the antibodies have on the course of their illness.

When completed, this study would provide the first conclusive results in a trial using a controlled group. Results will be shared with patients and doctors around the country.

People interested in donating are encouraged to visit bloodassurance.org/covidplasma. Donors will need to be able to pass all regular blood donation requirements which can be found at bloodassurance.org.

Source: Blood Assurance