Catholic Health Services is participating in two clinical trials aimed at developing treatments for COVID-19.
One is a Mayo Clinic trial that will use convalescent plasma donated by recovered COVID-19 patients to treat individuals fighting the virus.
The other involves using the medication Remdesivir, which was developed to treat the Ebola virus and has been successfully used for other coronaviruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The convalescent plasma study is being offered at CHS’s six hospitals: St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center in Roslyn, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson.
The Remdesivir trial is taking place at St. Francis and Good Samaritan hospitals.
According to CHS, initial data available from studies using COVID-19 convalescent plasma to treat individuals with severe or life-threatening conditions indicate that a single dose (200 milliliters/6.8 ounces) of plasma showed a benefit for some patients, leading to improvement. People who recover from COVID-19 do so, in part, because their blood contains antibodies that are able to fight the virus. Prior research of other viruses found that treating patients with plasma obtained from those who have recovered from the same virus leads to rapid improvement, according to the health system.
The use of Remdesivir to treat COVID-19 follows limited testing in the United States, Canada, China and elsewhere that led to an improvement in the condition of some patients.
Potential plasma donors must have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom-free and fully recovered. In addition to being in good health, donors must also be at least 18 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds. The plasma can be administered only to a consenting COVID-19 patient or a patient whose family member offers consent. The treatment will be given to those patients judged by a physician to be at high risk of disease progression to severe or life-threatening.
The treatment regimen using Remdesivir takes place over 10 days.
For more information about donating plasma or the clinical trials, call (855) CHS-4500.