CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah Researchers Need COVID-19 Patients To Study Plasma Treatments

Jul 20, 2021, 6:15 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As COVID-19 cases surge again, the University of Utah has teamed up with Johns Hopkins University to learn more about treating patients while they have the virus.

Researchers are looking for volunteers who are sick right now. 

For this study, University of Utah researchers need people who tested positive in the last few days. They want more data on convalescent plasma, a very promising treatment. 

“Case rates went down in the US, and now they are clearly coming back up,” said Dr. Emily Spivak, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Utah Health. 

COVID-19 started to spread rapidly again, mainly among unvaccinated people.

Nationwide, COVID-19 cases nearly doubled this week, and hospitalizations rose by a third, mainly driven by the Delta variant. 

Spivak, one of the researchers in the study, said they want more detailed data on how well convalescent plasma works. 

“Could it shorten symptoms of COVID in people who are infected acutely or prevent them from progressing to severe infection, needing hospitalization?” she said. “There’s preliminary data to suggest that it works. We just need a larger study like ours to confirm that.” 

Plasma is the part of our blood with antibodies and proteins that help fight infection. 

Because the Delta variant now accounts for four out of every five new COVID-19 cases, they also expect to learn more about that variant. 

“There are really very few effective therapies for COVID-19,” said Spivak. “Clearly, unfortunately, this pandemic is not going away, or not going away quickly, so we still need to know if there are other therapies to treat people as this goes on.” 

Researchers need people 18+ who recently tested positive for COVID, still have at least one symptom, were not hospitalized, and had the symptoms for no more than seven days.  

Participants have a 50/50 chance of getting either a placebo or the convalescent plasma.

Several months ago, researchers were optimistic that vaccination rates would be higher, protecting more people from hospitalization and death, but it hasn’t turned out that way. 

“We still need effective treatments,” the researcher said. “Until everyone rolls up their sleeve and gets vaccinated, we are going to need treatment.” 

People recently diagnosed can contact researchers at covidplasmastudy@hsc.utah.edu to take the enrollment questionnaire. 

If too many days pass, they may not qualify. 

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Utah Researchers Need COVID-19 Patients To Study Plasma Treatments