The US Department of Veteran Affairs announced a clinical trial for testing the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in treatments of serious COVID-19 cases. This push to testing is a part of an effort to give veterans quicker and more reliable access to test its effectiveness in serious COVID-19 cases.
The trial is the first of multiple studies in Veteran Affairs Coronavirus Research and Efficacy Studies (VA CURES), which is a protocol for researching possible treatments without the need for a new protocol each time. Robert Wilkie, VA secretary, states, “this trial will go a long way toward helping in the fight against COVID-19. VA CURES will provide valuable information that will benefit our Veterans who are battling COVID-19, as well as other patients and the medical community in general.”
Around 700 veterans who are currently hospitalized at VA medical centers may be a part of the program. The team will use random volunteers for the study to receive the convalescent plasma or a placebo (composed of saline), and gather data to track the effects and possible recovery of the treatment,
The plasma, known as convalescent plasma, is donated by those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and currently have antibodies in their blood to fight the virus. Antibodies are incredibly important in keeping infections from reappearing in our body, which is why this could potentially be a promising treatment.
Treatment of COVID-19 with Convalescent plasma has been already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration with the FDA expanded access program, which recently ended on August 28th. This access program was used throughout the nation at many VA sites and clinics.
Since then, the FDA has approved of this emergency therapy on the basis of available evidence supporting its efficacy. The potential for the current clinical program could lead to breakthroughs in treating COVID-19, and it is incredibly important in establishing a basis for effective and safe treatments.