Trinity Health of New England, the health system that runs Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, has treated its first patient with donated blood plasma in its COVID-19 clinical trial.
The health system began collecting plasma from donors this week, and administered the plasma to the first patient on Wednesday.
The concept of the blood plasma treatment involves collecting plasma that contains antibodies from people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Those antibodies are then injected into patients who are critically ill or on a breathing machine.
The therapy has previously been used with other diseases and it seems promising with coronavirus patients in a small study in China.
Trinity Health Of New England is one of four healthcare systems, including Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic, that received FDA approval for this clinical trial. The study will focus on testing the effectiveness of the antibodies within the plasma on critically ill patients on ventilator support, and evaluate the safety.
The health care group thanked three local business leaders - Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE, president and CEO, Bristol Health; Dr. G. Duncan Harris, CEO, Capital Community College; and Harold Sparrow, CEO and president, Greater Hartford YMCA - for their plasma donations, which are being used in the study.
“The generosity of Mr. Barwis, Dr. Harris, and Mr. Sparrow, as well as all the community members stepping forward to help is moving,” said Dr. Reginald Eadie, president and CEO, Trinity Health Of New England. “Donors are a critical component to this clinical trial and to getting one step closer to healing some of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients. While there are currently there are no vaccines and or proven therapies to fight this disease, this study allows us to tap into a treatment method that has the promise to be lifesaving."
Those interested in donating plasma can contact the COVID-19 Plasma Research team at 860-714-7129 or COVID-19PlasmaStudy@trinityhealthofne.org. The line is open Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.