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COVID-19 antibody treatment trial looking for volunteers

Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 17:21:04-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — "Lets put water on the matches before they light and start a big fire," said Dr. David Sullivan, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

With the uncertainty of what fall will bring, researchers are working hard to find a solution for COVID-19.

"To get society to be functional, we need to have an outpatient treatment. We need to prevent people from going to the hospital," said Sullivan.

Dr. David Sullivan is helping lead the first U.S. clinical trial for an outpatient treatment, using antibodies to both treat early-stage COVID-19 and prevent people exposed to the virus from catching it and ending up in the hospital.

"There are people that are recovered, people who have successfully fought off the virus and controlled it, taking those same antibodies and giving it to people who might be at high risk of going to the hospital," said Sullivan.

Antibodies were employed in the last great pandemic of 1918 and have been successfully used on over 70,000 patients who have already been given plasma in the U.S.

You can enroll for the trial now. To qualify, you have to have tested positive no more than 5 days ago and still have symptoms but haven’t been hospitalized or were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 no more than 3 days ago, who don’t have any symptoms. They have already transfused about 100 participants.

"If anything, it was some chance that it could have been beneficial not only to us but to others that have been exposed to the virus," said participate Jonathan Orens.

He and his wife were some of the first participants, qualifying because they were exposed to COVID by their daughter who tested positive and was asymptomatic. As part of the trial, they got one transfusion in July that he said lasted about 2 hours total from signing up to getting a bandage on his injection site.

"We had no side effects from the therapy. We felt well during the treatment. We felt well after the treatment," said Orens.

Researches are hoping to enroll another 100 people in the D.C. Baltimore area to get the treatment tested and available by December.

Orens was more than happy to sign up and hopes others join him in being part of a possible solution.

"I think with how bad this pandemic has been, we all have an obligation to contribute in some way to help our fellow citizens," said Orens.

This study is voluntary and participants will be compensated. Call 888-506-1199 or visit www.covidplasmatrial.org to take the enrollment questionnaire.