The nonprofit blood bank Blood Assurance of Maury County has partnered with Vanderbilt University to launch a study that will test the effectiveness of infusing the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients to those still infected with the virus.
The study, called the Passive Immunity Trial of the Nation, will have those who have recovered from COVID-19 make up to four plasma donations. Samples being tested for COVID-19 antibodies — only samples with high amounts of these neutralizing antibodies will go on to be used in the study.
“As doctors, we continue to lack adequate therapies to treat patients with COVID-19,” said Todd Rice, associate professor of Medicine and director of Vanderbilt's Medical Intensive Care Unit.
“Convalescent plasma could offer promise, but we must answer this question rigorously in a randomized trial, especially for the sickest patients at increased risk of mortality.”
The launch of the study comes shortly after President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that investigational therapy for COVID-19 antibodies would be approved for emergency use nationwide.
The study will be funded in part by a $34 million grant awarded to Vanderbilt by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences — a grant that was awarded with the sole purpose of exploring "convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19."
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with parental consent, and weigh 110 pounds or more. Prior to donating, donors are also asked to drink plenty of fluids, to avoid caffeine and to eat a meal rich in iron.
To schedule an appointment or find a donor center or mobile drive, those interested are encouraged to visit https://www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628, or text ‘BAGIVE’ to 999777.