New COVID-19 antibody testing at the University of Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News)– Friday, a COVID- 19 antibody trial is underway at the University of Utah. The University of Utah and Johns Hopkins University are teaming up on a two-part trial.

Due to the spike in COVID cases, researchers say some Utahns could qualify for this trial.

“We have been receiving plasma donations from people who have already recovered from COVID-19, we are using that plasma that has antibodies and transfusing into the patients who again have a confirmed infection,” Dr. Emily Spivak said. “What this entails is a one-time infusion–takes about 30 minutes to an hour they would get a physical exam and there would be some blood work involved.”

After this, one study looks at whether giving people antibodies from plasma earlier in the illness is effective at treating early-stage coronavirus.

“My study is looking at a people within a week of an onset of symptoms or a positive test the whole intention is to avoid hospitalizations and death,” Dr. David Sullivan at Johns Hopkins said.

The other study looks at preventing those exposed to it from catching the disease.

“The study that I am leading is a post-exposure prophylaxis study, it means that somebody may have had an exposure to the virus and could go on to develop the infection,” Dr. Shmuel Shoham at Johns Hopkins said.

Researchers said taking antibodies from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can help people who have either been recently exposed or who have been recently diagnosed and have symptoms, avoid getting sick.

Those who qualify could be compensated.

This is a list of qualifications: people must be tested for COVID-19 no more than five days ago and were positively diagnosed, who still have symptoms but haven’t been hospitalized. Or, were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 no more than three days ago, who don’t have any symptoms.

Doctors said if this testing is successful this antibody option could be a more affordable way to treat COVID-19.

The trial is expected to run for six months with a projected sample size of 1,800 patients.

Email covidplasmastudy@hsc.utah.edu if you feel you qualify.

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