LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Healthcare physicians are testing a possible treatment for COVID-19 using convalescent plasma taken from blood donated by fully recovered COVID-19 patients.
With approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Norton Healthcare is searching for candidates to donate plasma that may contain coronavirus-fighting antibodies.
As an experimental treatment, the initial convalescent plasma procedure is available only to patients who are severely ill from the disease.
Convalescent plasma has been used over the past several years to treat severe illnesses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), avian influenza and Ebola virus.
“This is an exciting method to provide a passive immunity to infected individuals who are unable to mount a response to fight the infection,” said Joseph M. Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, chief administrative officer, Norton Medical Group, and physician-in-chief, Norton Cancer Institute.
Many studies have been published showing exciting results using convalescent plasma to fight respiratory viral infections.
“More recently, a study of five patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and demonstrated exciting results,” Dr. Flynn said.
Dr. Flynn, who launched the development of Norton Healthcare Convalescent Plasma Program, said the expanded-use protocol will allow Norton Healthcare to treat a much greater number of patients.
Don A. Stevens, M.D., a hematologist/oncologist with Norton Cancer Institute and one of the institute’s founders, is the primary investigator on this new study. Dr. Stevens has led many clinical trials at Norton Healthcare, bringing leading-edge hematology and cancer treatments to Louisville-area patients.
To take part in the Norton Healthcare expanded convalescent plasma study, potential donors must have had a positive COVID-19 test, and must be symptom-free for at least 28 days with a follow-up antibody test or symptom-free for 14 days with a negative COVID-19 follow-up test. Additional requirements, such as those associated with any blood donation, also apply.
To qualify as a potential recipient of the convalescent plasma, the patient must have a positive COVID-19 laboratory test, and they must be severely ill condition or their life must be in immediate danger.
If you have a loved one who may be eligible to take part in the trial, discuss the possibility with your loved one’s physician.
If you have recovered from COVID-19 and want to volunteer as a plasma donor: Call (502) 446-2688.