Hattiesburg Clinic to Participate in COVID-19 Expanded Access Program, Convalescent Plasma Treatment Clinical Trial
HATTIESBURG, MISS. – As we continue the fight against COVID-19, Hattiesburg Clinic announced its participation in the COVID-19 Expanded Access Program, a clinical trial administered by the Mayo Clinic.
The clinical trial, led by John “Bo” Hrom, MD, Oncology Clinical Director at Forrest General and Hattiesburg Clinic, aims to treat patients with serious COVID-19 disease by collecting plasma therapy from recovered COVID-19 patients and providing the therapy to hospitalized patients in critical condition.
“We accept plasma donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19 because they potentially have the antibodies that can kill the virus,” Hrom said. “It is done through a process called plasmapheresis where just the plasma itself is removed from the patient. We can get anywhere from two to six units of convalescent plasma at a time. One unit of convalescent plasma is used to treat one patient, so potentially, two to six patients can be treated from one person’s donation.”
To donate, the patient has to have had a formal COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician, have recovered from the virus for 14 days with no symptoms, and have a negative COVID-19 RNA swab. If they meet the criteria, patients are able to go to a blood donation center, like Vitalant or Red Cross, where they are hooked up to a machine very similar to the ones used in blood donations. Donors can donate up to once a week.
The major goal of the trial is to determine if the antibodies developed in a patient who has recovered from the virus will effectively treat those who are currently affected by the disease. As of right now, only patients in serious, critical condition (in the ICU) are able to receive convalescent plasma treatment. And while the study is currently in its infancy, risks associated with receiving treatment are the same as any other blood transfusion. Since it’s done at a blood donation center, it meets all FDA requirements and every unit that is donated undergoes various system checks to ensure it is safe.
“We needed access to something that would help critically ill patients. If this treatment proves to be beneficial, I want to be able to offer patients the same treatment as those services provided by the Mayo Clinic or Mount Sinai Hospital in New York,” Hrom said. “We want to be able to provide the same level of care as some of these major medical institutions.”
For those interested in participating in the Convalescent Plasma Clinic Trial, please visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/convalescent-plasma-trial and fill out the information form provided. A Hattiesburg Clinic representative will contact you upon the reviewal of your application.