OHSU looks to plasma for COVID treatment


Plasma played role in treating Ebola virus

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Health officials with the Oregon Health & Science University announced they will take part in a national study that hopes to find treatment for COVID-19 through plasma.

The randomized, controlled clinical trial backed by the National Institute of Health intends to determine whether or not convalescent plasma is effective in fighting infection caused by the coronavirus.

Convalescent plasma is the liquid portion of blood collected from patients who have recovered from the virus. The antibodies are elicited during infection, which is part of the body’s natural immune system mobilized against the novel coronavirus and contained in convalescent plasma. The liquid was a success for combatting the Ebola virus.

“The idea is to supplement each patient’s immune response with antibodies donated by people who have successfully fought off the disease,” OHSU said in a release Wednesday.

The trial will recruit 600 people with relatively mild symptoms of COVID-19, then test the convalescent plasma’s effectiveness in preventing the disease from progressing to severe illness or death. Roughly 80% of all cases are considered mild, with 5% developing severe forms of the disease.

OHSU said the size of the study will allow researchers to discern a statistically valid signal of effectiveness.

“Usually we have years to identify effective treatments, and we’re doing it all in months,” said Bory Kea M.D., an associate professor of emergency medicine at the university who is leading the trial. “It’s pretty amazing to see what we can do when we all put our minds together.”

OHSU said it hopes to have results by late September or early October.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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