A new clinical trial at UC San Diego Health will investigate whether blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors will help patients infected with the coronavirus.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Health will launch a clinical trial to assess the safety and success of convalescent plasma (CP) to prevent COVID-19 after known exposure to the virus.
UC San Diego said CP therapy involves infusing patients with antibodies extracted from the blood of donors who have successfully recovered from COVID-19, with the hope that the resulting boost to their immune systems will shorten the length and reduce the severity of the disease.
“With convalescent plasma therapy, we want to act prophylactically, using a product with known high-titers (concentrations) of neutralizing antibodies,” said Edward Cachay, MD, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We want to learn how we can prevent sickness, how we can prevent COVID patients from needed mechanical ventilation, and how we can prevent them from dying from the disease.”
The clinical trial will recruit 487 qualifying participants for the study. To qualify the donors must be at least 18 years old and weigh 110 pounds, be in good health, and have a prior verified diagnosis of COVID-19 but are now symptom-free and fully recovered.
Cachay said he thinks CP will likely be most effective in persons with early exposure to the novel coronavirus before symptoms appear, but it will require a clinical trial to substantiate that thinking.
“If we don’t do this, if we just gather anecdotal evidence that isn’t conclusive, then we won’t be any better off when the next wave hits,” he said.
The clinical trial begins on July 13. Testing will be conducted on the La Jolla Health campus. The trial is part of a larger, national effort approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For information on participating in the trial, can visit the website.