AURORA, Colo. -- Coronavirus got a head start on researchers with this outbreak, but they're looking to catch up.
“There are no proven therapies yet that are affected for the COVID-19 infection and there are a number of things that we’re trying. One of them is a convalescent serum,” Dr. Joe Forrester, director of Critical Care and Hospitalized Services at HealthONE said.
HealthONE is teaming with the Mayo Clinic as part of a national study to see if the plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 is a viable treatment. It’s proven effective with similar viruses in the past.
“This is a really exciting study. It’s really great because it’s sponsored by the FDA and it’s a nationwide study, so there are — you can rest assured — that it has the oversight that is necessary to conduct very rigorous, very trustworthy research,” site study coordinator Diedre Bricker said.
Researchers are now looking for donors who are 18 or older, in good health, have a verified diagnosis of COVID-19 and are fully recovered with no symptoms.
“People are actively going forward and actively trying to donate their blood,” Brickere added.
Researchers told Denver7 Wednesday they've infused dozens of local patients with the serum so far and thousands nationally. These patients must sign consent forms to take part in the experimental study.
“It’s going very well. We’ve had no adverse effects that we’re aware of and we’re monitoring these patients closely. They’re all in-patient who have presented with some respiratory compromise, low blood oxygen level,” Dr. Forrester said.
But we’re a long way from knowing the true impact these studies will have in the fight against the new virus.
“It’s too soon to say whether or not this works or doesn’t work. We have to listen to our researchers and we have to do the work in order to find if something is clinically viable or not,” Bricker said.
Potentially, this could be a major step forward in our efforts to get ahead of this pandemic.
To find out if you’re eligible to donate, you can call (833) 582-1971.
Donation sites include the blood bank at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Vitalant.