With testing for convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 already underway, Shmuel Shoham, MD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is launching a national study to understand whether survivor plasma can help prevent infection.
The study, which will take place at Johns Hopkins and 15 other sites, will recruit 150 health workers, caretakers, nursing home residents, and others who have been exposed to the coronavirus, to test whether injection with survivor plasma can prevent illness. Patients will be randomly assigned to either plasma collected from recovered patients or regular plasma collected prior to the pandemic.
Treatment with survivor plasma has already shown promise in a trial of 39 patients with COVID-19 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Patients who received plasma prior to being ventilated were found more likely to survive than those who did not receive survivor plasma, according to lead author Sean Liu, MD.
Because patients who recover from COVID-19 possess varying levels of antibodies, Dr. Shoham’s team also seeks to determine the effective dosage of plasma. Michele Donato, MD, of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, who studies antibody levels in survivor plasma, estimates that 20% of recovered patients have strong immunity, though it is unclear how long the protection lasts.