University of Chicago Medicine says it's launching a clinical trial to study plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as a possible treatment for the illness.
The trial, which will recruit local patients who have recovered from the virus, will explore whether blood plasma can be used to treat new COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, UChicago Medicine said in a statement today.
The Red Cross recently called for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma that could help current patients battling the virus.
Plasma, the liquid portion of blood, helps with clotting and supports immunity. People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood plasma that protects against future infections, according to the Red Cross. But it's not yet known is how long patients are immune to the virus after they've recovered.
UChicago's initial investigation will cover the "safety and feasibility of procedures for identifying donors, collecting plasma donations and administering transfusions," the statement says, noting that an additional trial would be needed to study the effectiveness of the treatment itself.
"This trial is just the first step, but hopefully it will help us determine if plasma transfusions can be a treatment for critically ill patients with COVID-19," Dr. Maria Lucia Madariaga, who is leading the clinical trial, said in the statement.
The Chicago Tribune first reported the UChicago Medicine trial.
This article was originally published in Crain's Chicago Business.