Coronavirus: UT Medical Center participating in plasma treatment trial

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee Medical Center will take part in a Mayo Clinic trial to treat COVID-19 patients with plasma from individuals who have been infected and recovered from the virus.

As part of the Expanded Access to Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of Patients with COVID-19 trial led and coordinated by the Mayo Clinic, A UT Medical Center clinical team recently treated the center’s first patient with plasma donated from individuals who have been infected with and recovered from COVID-19. It was the first such infusion in the Knoxville region.

The intention of the study is to see if the donated plasma can be given to people with severe cases of COVID-19 to help them in their fight against the disease.

People who have recovered from the disease have antibodies to the disease in their blood called covalescent plasma. UT Medical Center joins more than 2,000 sites and 5,000 physicians participating in this trial.

“We are excited to be a part of this protocol that enables us to provide potentially lifesaving therapy to patients suffering from an infection with limited treatment options,” said Dr. Mark Rasnake, hospital epidemiologist and an infectious disease physician at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “We are grateful for the generosity of those who have donated plasma after recovering from COVID-19, as their gift allows us to help our patients with the most critical illness.”

Rasnake said he hopes that as more people in our community recover from the disease, they will consider becoming plasma donors through local blood centers.

MEDIC Regional Blood Center has a process in place to accept donations of COVID Convalescent Plasma from those with a confirmed COVID-19 lab test. More information about that process can be found on MEDIC’s web page created specifically for convalescent plasma donations.

More information about the convalescent plasma trial, including how to donate plasma, can be found on the Mayo Clinic website.

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