A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and other universities was recently awarded more than $7 million in funds to collaboratively study the role of convalescent plasma in mitigating symptoms of COVID-19 in patients with mild illness and preventing the progression of the disease from mild to severe.
Convalescent plasma is derived from blood donated by persons who have already had COVID-19 and have recovered. Convalescent plasma contains antibodies that can bind to the virus that causes COVID-19 and neutralize it.
“We are going to recruit patients who are at high risk for developing severe illness and may be most likely to benefit from a preventative treatment, such as patients over 50, those with heart disease, lung disease or diabetes and patients who are immunocompromised,” said Clifton Callaway (pictured), executive vice-chair of emergency medicine at Pitt.
The award comes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Researchers on the team also come from Michigan Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina and Stanford Medicine.