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The revolutionary treatment uses antibodies from plasma donated by individuals who have recovered or in the process of recovering from COVID-19.
The plasma is then transfused into patients currently fighting the virus. The nationwide study is led by researchers at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.; Silver Cross is one of 2,000 participating hospitals across the U.S.
Silver Cross was the first in the area to participate in this trial with the first patient receiving the treatment on April 28, according Dr. Samer Dola, pathologist at Silver Cross.
As the principle investigator, Dola oversees the team of doctors, coordinators and the blood bank involved in the study at Silver Cross. The team’s clinical coordinator is Mary Shanahan, administrative director of nursing operations, nursing practice and nursing quality/safety at Silver Cross.
Shanahan is responsible for documenting patient response to the treatment and sharing it with researchers at Mayo Clinic.
“We are still very early in this trial, but we are hopeful that we are on the right path,” Shanahan said in a news release from Silver Cross
Eligible patients for this experimental treatment are the ones who have tried everything already without success and are facing severe or life-threatening manifestations of COVID-19 Dola said.
The treating physician is the one who makes the recommendation to register the patient in the trial as long as consent is given by the patient or their family.
The strict criteria does not allow for asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients to participate, as their immune system is providing the necessary antibodies to fight on their own.
Thousands of patients across the U.S. are needed to determine if the treatment works, Dola said. The numbers need to show that the experimental treatment is not harming anyone, but most importantly that it is effective.
For more information about convalescent plasma therapy, visit uscovidplasma.org.
For more information about Silver Cross Hospital, visit silvercross.org.