UCLA is part of a nationwide effort to study if convalescent plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 may yield a treatment for the deadly virus. 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, says Alyssa F. Ziman, MD, medical director of transfusion medicine in the UCLA Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
This type of treatment is not new; convalescent plasma was used to treat those who suffered from the Spanish Flu, SARS, MERS, H1N1 and other viruses. For COVID-19, “we will transfuse convalescent plasma to patients who are currently hospitalized with severe symptoms through the Mayo Clinic-led expanded access program,” Dr. Ziman says. “UCLA will also be participating in additional national research protocols to study if plasma can be used to prevent infection in health care workers who have been exposed and in patients with mild disease.”
The UCLA Convalescent Plasma Initiative screens patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and confirms that these patients meet all standard eligibility requirements for blood donation. The UCLA Blood and Platelet Center will collect the convalescent plasma from eligible donors.
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 says.
The convalescent plasma study is open to patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been well and symptom-free for at least 14 days. Antibody testing is not being offered as part of the study.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered and wish to participate in the study, register and take a survey at: UCLA Blood & Platelet Center >
In the wake of COVID-19, Los Angeles County has issued a “Safer at Home” order, but UCLA Health hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica are facing a critical shortage of donated blood, which many patients depend on for lifesaving treatment, transplants and surgeries. Blood donation is considered an essential service that is exempt from the Safer at Home directive, and it is a way for healthy people to make a significant contribution during this difficult time. The UCLA Blood & Platelet Center follows the recommended guidelines of the American Association of Blood Banks to keep donors and staff safe. For more information and to schedule an appointment to donate >