Study Explores How Antibodies May Help Patients in Need

August 3, 2020

Dr. Godofsky headshot from Manatee MemorialAs the world unites to find an effective treatment for COVID-19, Manatee Memorial Hospital is helping to advance this mission by participating in a national clinical trial program coordinated by the Mayo Clinic and American Red Cross, and supported by the FDA.

The study involves using antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat hospitalized patients with severe risk or life-threatening infection. The antibodies, which may help fight the disease, are contained in a part of the blood called “convalescent plasma.” This plasma is collected from recovered COVID-19 patients and then given to hospitalized patients in an effort to help improve their clinical condition and give them some immunity, explains infectious disease specialist Eliot Godofsky, MD, the Clinical Investigator who is overseeing the clinical trials at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

How to Donate Plasma

Finding plasma donors is critical. If you’ve had COVID-19 or think you had it, contact your local blood bank or the American Red Cross, and they can screen you to be a donor, if it’s appropriate, says Dr. Godofsky. “There is no better way for a community to step up and help take care of its own,” he says.

Recipient Eligibility Requirements

Only eligible hospitalized patients referred by their healthcare provider will participate in receiving convalescent plasma. Patients are eligible to be recipients if:

  • They are 18+ years of age
  • They have laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19
  • They are admitted to an acute care facility for the treatment of COVID-19 complications
  • They have severe or life-threatening COVID-19, or judged by the treating provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease
  • There is informed consent provided by the patient or healthcare proxy

While it will take time for the results of the national study to be made available, “COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) has the potential to offer safe, effective therapy for patients with severe or life-threatening infection,” says Dr. Godofsky.

NOTE: COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) has not yet been demonstrated to provide clinical benefits in patients affected by this disease. It's not known if this treatment will or will not help those with COVID-19 or if it will have any harmful effects. However, an article published on May 14, 2020, demonstrated the safety of CCP in the first 5,000 hospitalized patients in the Mayo Clinic study, and noted that at this time, convalescent plasma is the only antibody-based therapy available for COVID-19.