UCLA clinical trial tests convalescent plasma as a potential COVID-19 treatment

Members of the community who have recovered from coronavirus are encouraged to donate blood

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UCLA has joined a nationwide effort to study whether convalescent plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 may yield a treatment for the deadly virus.

Convalescent plasma is a liquid component collected from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19. There is currently no treatment for COVID-19 but small studies have suggested that the disease-fighting antibodies found in convalescent plasma may help people recover from the virus, said Dr. Alyssa Ziman, medical director of transfusion medicine in the UCLA Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Members of the community who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered are encouraged to register and take the survey on the UCLA COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donation website to see whether they are eligible to donate.

"We will use the donated plasma to give to patients who are currently hospitalized with COVID-19," Dr. Ziman said. "There are also national research protocols under development to study whether plasma can be used to prevent infection in healthcare workers that have been exposed. Our goal is to participate in these trials once they are finalized."

Blood plasma and other specimens for future research will be collected through the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center by appointment only and donors will have to meet all standard blood donor screening requirements.

In addition to potentially saving lives, the clinical trial will help researchers better understand antibody response to COVID-19, test development for neutralizing antibodies, and the relationship between the amount and type of antibody in convalescent plasma units and patients' response to plasma treatment, Dr. Ziman said.

UCLA is one of more than 40 institutions across the country participating in the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.