Cleveland Clinic works with OneBlood to start trials for COVID-19 plasma treatment

Cleveland Clinic Florida reports it has received approval to begin clinical trials for a variety of new treatments to help COVID-19-positive patients.

One of the most promising treatments is convalescent plasma therapy, which collects antibody rich plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to use for patients currently struggling with the virus, the clinic said in a press release. Cleveland Clinic Florida recently received expanded access to use this therapy for those admitted with moderate to severe COVID-19 disease.

Since implementing drive-thru testing in mid-March, Cleveland Clinic Florida sites have been gathering information on patients who are interested in plasma donations and currently has a list of 160 willing participants, the press release says. The convalescent plasma collection will be collected by OneBlood, an independent not-for-profit blood bank serving Florida. Plasma donations from Cleveland Clinic Florida patients could potentially benefit COVID-19 patients across the entire state. Cleveland Clinic Florida said it continues to refer willing recovered donors who meet criteria to OneBlood daily. OneBlood is known for its distinctive Big Red Bus mobile collection centers.

The OneBlood website says transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.

The experimental treatment is approved by the FDA to be used on an emergency basis and is called “COVID-19 convalescent plasma.” Critically ill patients who meet the FDA criteria to receive this therapy can be treated for life-threatening COVID-19.

Dr. Wael Barsoum, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

“Our objective throughout the COVID-19 outbreak has been to provide the best possible care for patients, which includes having access to innovative treatments for the virus,” said Dr. Wael Barsoum, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida. “We are fortunate to have a team of experts who can help advance treatment options that will benefit patients now and in the future.”

The OneBlood website provides information on how to register as a donor. Donors must meet all the required screening criteria for blood donation and the additional FDA criteria, as follows:

  • Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by an FDA approved laboratory test
    • A positive diagnostic test at the time of illness OR
    • A positive serological test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies after recovery
  • Complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation and a documented negative COVID-19 FDA approved test OR
  • Complete resolution of symptoms at least 28 days prior to donation

As a part of your pre-donation process you will be required to provide your COVID-19 test result(s), OneBlood says.

Hospitalized patients who are interested in receiving a transfusion will have to consent to the trial, and must be a blood match to a donor, OneBlood says.


Kevin Gale
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