By KLTV Digital Media Staff | August 14, 2020 at 3:46 PM CDT – Updated August 14 at 3:46 PM
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) will receive more than $2 million in a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for convalescent plasma research. Convalescent plasma is received from recovered COVID-19 patients who have developed antibodies in their blood to fight off the virus.
Faculty members, Dr. Julie Philley, UTHSCT pulmonologist and professor of medicine, Dr. Megan Devine, UTHSCT pulmonologist and associate professor of medicine, are both principal investigators on the research.
“This study, supported by the NIH, will answer the questions if convalescent plasma helps prevent worsening lung symptoms—or death—in hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Philley said.
She explained that human convalescent plasma is a promising treatment option for COVID-19 and could be rapidly available once there are enough people who have recovered and who donate plasma.
Enrollment begins next week, Philley said.
UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun said “we are one of just a few institutions asked to do detailed work on carefully selected convalescent plasma.”
Patients who meet clinical criteria will receive the convalescent plasma. The doctors will then study patient responses to the plasma to understand if their ability to fight the virus is enhanced.
The antibodies in the convalescent plasma from recovered patients are injected into sick patients to treat existing COVID-19 infection with the hope that the plasma will provide immediate protection from the disease.