Study testing benefit of antibodies from people recovered from COVID-19 on severe cases of infection

Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute are taking part in a large, multi-centre study examining the use of convalescent plasma transfusions from people who have recovered from COVID-19 as a possible treatment for infected patients.

When a person is infected with a virus, their immune system produces protein antibodies, specific to that virus, that help the body fight the infection. These antibodies stay in the bloodstream after the person has recovered, and provide a degree of long-term immunity. Convalescent plasma is a term that describes plasma from a person who has recovered from illness. The hope is that naturally derived antibodies for COVID-19 will help fight serious infection in other individuals.

The CONCOR-1 Trial, led by Canadian researchers, will recruit 1,200 participants from Canada and New York. Researchers are collecting blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and transfusing it into seriously ill patients. Measurable outcomes include the rate of intubation and mortality rate after 30 days of enrollment in the trial.

Dr. Ziad Solh, Lawson Associate Scientist, and Hematologist and Transfusion Medicine Specialist at London Health Sciences Centre explains, “this is an experiment; we don’t yet know if this treatment will show benefit, but it does show promise as similar treatments have had some success in studies of other viral infections such as SARS.”

Convalescent plasma donation is being coordinated through Canadian Blood Services. For this study, they are currently collecting plasma from eligible donors under the age of 67 who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and have been symptom free for at least 28 days. Those who are interested in donating can find more information on the Canadian Blood Services website.

Trial participants must be over 16 years of age, requiring oxygen, have been sick for less than 12 days, and their plasma must be compatible with donor plasma.