UC Health doctor shares progress, what’s ahead in COVID-19 treatment studies

Doctors in Greater Cincinnati are paying close attention to a potential treatment after patients received specialized plasma.The plasma comes from recovered COVID-19 patients and goes to those who are critically ill with the virus.WLWT talked with one of the doctors helping lead a clinical trial with UC Health.Doctors said there will be a continued need for treatment moving forward because the virus will be around even as states gradually re-open economies.They hope to see glimmers of hope soon.”We have a number of patients who are very critically ill and I think a number of our hospitals are seeing the same thing as well,” Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum said.Fichtenbaum specializes in clinical medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Cincinnati and UC Health.He’s helping lead the charge in the search for COVID-19 treatments.Right now, the focus is on COVID-19 convalescent plasma and antibodies from recovered patients being given to at least four very sick people in UC Health hospitals just a day ago.”It’s a little early, we usually expect to see treatment response in 24-48 hours, so if people are going to get better we hope that that will be something we see in that time window,” Fichtenbaum said.He said they will watch patients who aren’t in intensive care for improving oxygen levels, vital signs and blood test results.For those in the ICU, he said they will look for indicators the patient could be taken off of a ventilator and determine if they’re more stable and having improving symptoms.He said those changes will be submitted daily to a national Mayo Clinic database.Fichtenbaum said they anticipate soon having about 10 different, active COVID-19 treatment studies.It puts UC Health front and center in this life-saving research race.”We just opened two more this week and I think there may be two more that are coming as well this week, and then there’ll be some more next week,” he said.Doctors said the information collected is de-identified.They expect within the next month it will help highlight outcomes, safety concerns and how plasma infusions can be used in a national preliminary report.UC Health doctors said they are also looking to collect samples from people who have active COVID-19.”We’re looking for people who have active disease. They can participate in what we call a bio-repository or bio-bank, where we’re collecting samples for about, up to 60 different researchers across our academic health center,” Fichtenbaum said.He said Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Veterans Affairs Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health are all part of that collaboration.Fichtenbaum said anyone interested in these studies should contact UC Health at 513-245-3417 or email UCCOVIDResearch@UCHealth.com.The Hoxworth Blood Center continues to take COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations by appointment, but there are guidelines to be eligible.For more information, call 513-451-0910 or visit the Hoxworth Blood Center’s website here.

Doctors in Greater Cincinnati are paying close attention to a potential treatment after patients received specialized plasma.

The plasma comes from recovered COVID-19 patients and goes to those who are critically ill with the virus.

WLWT talked with one of the doctors helping lead a clinical trial with UC Health.

Doctors said there will be a continued need for treatment moving forward because the virus will be around even as states gradually re-open economies.

They hope to see glimmers of hope soon.

“We have a number of patients who are very critically ill and I think a number of our hospitals are seeing the same thing as well,” Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum said.

Fichtenbaum specializes in clinical medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Cincinnati and UC Health.

He’s helping lead the charge in the search for COVID-19 treatments.

Right now, the focus is on COVID-19 convalescent plasma and antibodies from recovered patients being given to at least four very sick people in UC Health hospitals just a day ago.

“It’s a little early, we usually expect to see treatment response in 24-48 hours, so if people are going to get better we hope that that will be something we see in that time window,” Fichtenbaum said.

He said they will watch patients who aren’t in intensive care for improving oxygen levels, vital signs and blood test results.

For those in the ICU, he said they will look for indicators the patient could be taken off of a ventilator and determine if they’re more stable and having improving symptoms.

He said those changes will be submitted daily to a national Mayo Clinic database.

Fichtenbaum said they anticipate soon having about 10 different, active COVID-19 treatment studies.

It puts UC Health front and center in this life-saving research race.

“We just opened two more this week and I think there may be two more that are coming as well this week, and then there’ll be some more next week,” he said.

Doctors said the information collected is de-identified.

They expect within the next month it will help highlight outcomes, safety concerns and how plasma infusions can be used in a national preliminary report.

UC Health doctors said they are also looking to collect samples from people who have active COVID-19.

“We’re looking for people who have active disease. They can participate in what we call a bio-repository or bio-bank, where we’re collecting samples for about, up to 60 different researchers across our academic health center,” Fichtenbaum said.

He said Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Veterans Affairs Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health are all part of that collaboration.

Fichtenbaum said anyone interested in these studies should contact UC Health at 513-245-3417 or email UCCOVIDResearch@UCHealth.com.

The Hoxworth Blood Center continues to take COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations by appointment, but there are guidelines to be eligible.

For more information, call 513-451-0910 or visit the Hoxworth Blood Center’s website here.


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