Penn Medicine launches COVID-19 convalescent plasma study

Convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients—an experimental approach of giving a transfusion of plasma collected from a donor who has recovered from COVID-19 to a patient with an active infection—is the focus of a new two-part research initiative at Penn Medicine. Researchers will first collect plasma from people who have recovered from their infection under a donor research protocol. The second part involves conducting clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of giving that plasma to moderately and severely ill hospitalized patients. 

Plasma drip in a hospital setting

“People who have recovered from COVID-19 rapidly develop antibody responses. Early reports suggest that these plasma antibodies can boost the immune response in severely-ill patients,” says Katharine Bar, an assistant professor of infectious diseases in the Perelman School of Medicine. “By developing and implementing these research protocols in tandem, we will be able to use scientific and evidence-based methods to learn if, and how, convalescent plasma therapy helps patients. We’re working to start our clinical trial as soon as we possibly can, because we urgently need to determine if this approach works and if it is safe.”

Bar will lead the clinical trial team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical CenterNicole Aqui, an associate professor of clinical pathology and laboratory medicine, is leading the transfusion medicine team that began a research protocol to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients this month.

This article is by Melissa Moody. Read more at Penn Medicine News.