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UChicago Medicine begins clinical trial on COVID-19 plasma transfusions

UChicago Medicine begins clinical trial on COVID-19 plasma transfusions

The University of Chicago Medicine has launched a new trial to determine whether blood plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 can be used to treat patients with severe disease symptoms.

The initial phase of the study will start with 10 patients currently at the health system. This will ensure the safety and feasibility of the procedures, said Dr. Lucia Madariaga, who is leading the trial.

Early reports from China suggest the procedure is safe and effective, she said.

“Right now, as we’re waiting for other therapeutics to come on-board and a vaccine, it’s an important stop-gap measure to help people who are with severe COVID-19,” Madariaga said.

Researchers will recruit adults in Chicago who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are 28 days removed from exhibiting symptoms. The four weeks will provide researchers with plasma that have the most antibodies, said Dr. Patrick Wilson, the study’s co-investigator.

Madariaga said similar practices have been done for over a century, having previously been used to treat viruses like measles, influenza and SARs.

Depending on the results of the first step, she said they could expand to cover more patients. There are currently 120 patients at UChicago Medicine with COVID-19.

“With this, we hope to advance our ability to treat this disease in the long run,” Wilson said.

Advocate Aurora Health did its first plasma transfusion from a recovered COVID-19 patient in Milwaukee on Friday. The health system is working with the American Red Cross in Illinois to find donors.


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