MCKINNEY, Texas - Medical City is partnering with the Mayo Clinic to study if plasma from someone who recovered from COVID-19 can help current patients who are severely ill.
The FDA-approved study was conducted across the country by the Mayo Clinic. It will be the first large scale study to determine if plasma with antibodies that fight COVID-19 can be effective at treating people who are sick. But the study hinges on people who have recovered from the virus donating blood.
Dr. Jaya Kumar, Chief Medical Officer of Medical City McKinney, explained the goal for using what is called 'convalescent plasma.'
“People who are battling an infectious illness develop proteins called antibodies in response to that illness,” she explained.
Scientists hope antibodies, found in the blood of people who have fought off COVID-19, will be the secret weapon to heal patients who are hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases.
Dr. Kumar says the risk of receiving the treatment is low because plasma infusions have successfully been used during other epidemics.
“We use convalescent plasma as a treatment modality for about a century now,” she said. “The most recent time when we used it was during the SARS epidemic and the MERS epidemic.”
To determine if plasma infusions are effective at treating the illness, Medical City Healthcare is looking for people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 who are willing to donate their blood.
“It has shown some early promising benefits,” Kumar said. “But we want to do it in a larger scale to show whether a larger group of patients would benefit from this treatment.”
Only people with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus will be eligible to receive the plasma infusions.