In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, Convalescent Plasma may also be an added defense to fight against the virus. Funded by the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health, Convalescent Plasma trials are ongoing in the Chicagoland area. John Hopkins Medicine is leading the study trial at Northshore University. There are currently 30 testing sites across the United States. Dr. Giselle Mosnaim leads the trial. Dr. Mosnaim is the lead investigator for the John Hopkins Convalescent Plasma Trials at the NorthShore University Health System trial site. Dr. Mosnaim also serves as the Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Allergies and Immunologist in the Division of Pulmonary Allergy and critical care in the Department of Medicine at Northshore University Health System.
The Chicago Defender spoke with Dr. Mosnaim about Convalescent Plasma and its purpose. Convalescent Plasma is not new. Currently, plasma helps to treat infections such as Hepatitis B, The Spanish Flu, and Rabies. Convalescent Plasma is plasma taken from a person who has recovered from Covid-19 and was not hospitalized. The plasma contains antibodies. In theory, antibodies tag onto and target the virus for destruction. This helps an individual with COVID-19 from allowing the virus to multiply in their system.
Convalescent Plasma is not a substitute for taking the vaccine, which Dr. Mosnaim recommends for everyone. The plasma can be additional therapy for COVID-19 -19. You can get the vaccine and Convalescent Plasma but speak with your physician first. With the Covid-19 vaccine, you must wait a week for the body’s immune response to kick in, as the vaccine comes in two doses. It is estimated that the vaccine will take weeks or months to get to most people in the United States.
In contrast, Convalescent Plasma is immediate and is used as an outpatient treatment for Covid-19. “When a person with COVID-19 receives the Convalescent Plasma, that’s immediate immunity”, says Dr. Mosnaim. “You’re getting someone’s antibodies that provide immunity. That works that same day to fight the virus. Still, you must participate in the trial to receive the Convalescent Plasma. The trial’s purpose is to give Convalescent Plasma to prevent someone from becoming sicker, hospitalized, and avoid infection.
With treatment options now available for the Covid-19 Virus, many do not trust taking the Vaccine. With the medical industry’s history with racism, this is a valid concern for the Black Community. Dr. Mosnaim is grateful for the Black Community in Chicago, who participated in the trials by donating and receiving plasma. However, more participation is needed from the Black community. Dr. Mosnaim clarifies that the plasma tested seeks to find high antibodies. Not everyone who donates plasma has high antibody levels. Only 70% or 80 % of people who donate plasma have high antibodies. Plasma with high antibodies is the only plasma used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Mosnaim urges those who recovered from Covid-19 to be a part of a solution. Recovering COVID-19 patients can help someone with this plasma, as it can aid in another’s recovery.
You can find out more about the trials and how you can participate by contacting:
Trial Website: https://covidplasmatrial.org/
NorthShore University Health System COVID-19 Resource Website: northshore.org/covid-studies
Phone Number: 888-506-1199
Shera Strange is a Certified Health Coach & Fitness Professional & Writer. Find her at www.strangefitness.com.