HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA), parent company of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital, today announced 172 of its affiliated hospitals are participating in a national study to test whether plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may help in the treatment of individuals currently sick from the virus. As part of the effort, these hospitals are seeking qualified plasma donors in 20 states.
There has been a long history of successful viral infection treatment using convalescent plasma, but additional clinical data – and more plasma donations – are needed to determine efficacy in treating COVID-19. As part of this study, HCA Healthcare is leveraging its clinical research capabilities as well as its national hospital network to quickly expand collection and testing.
“As a learning healthcare system that serves communities across the country, we are proud to play a part in broader global public health initiatives, including this and other research, to identify effective COVID-19 treatments,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer at HCA Healthcare. “We’re encouraging the communities HCA Healthcare serves to join us in this important effort to help identify donors.”
HCA Healthcare’s participation is supported by its Sarah Cannon Research Institute, one of the world’s leading clinical research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials. Sarah Cannon has led more than 400 first-in-human oncology clinical trials since its inception in 1993.
“We are aggressively working with our research partners to assess a variety of clinical studies for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19,” said Howard “Skip” Burris III, MD, president of clinical operations and chief medical officer at Sarah Cannon Research Institute. “The convalescent plasma study is focused on treating patients currently facing severe cases of COVID-19, by arming their immune systems with plasma that is rich in virus-fighting antibodies from individuals who have recently recovered.”
Over the last century, convalescent plasma has been shown to help prevent and treat infection in people who are exposed to the same virus. Recent examples of this approach have occurred during outbreaks of coronaviruses like SARS-1, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The current study, which is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is being led by the Mayo Clinic.
The success of the study hinges on the continued collection of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. People who tested positive for COVID-19 and have since tested negative can help by donating plasma through the American Red Cross or another local donation center. To find out more about the donation process, eligibility and locations to donate in your area, please call our dedicated COVID-19 Plasma Phone Line at (833) 582-1971 or visit our website
HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its scale and the vast data it collects from approximately 35 million annual patient care episodes to inform and improve patient care. Studies at HCA Healthcare have been published in leading medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, and have led to new standards of care in the areas of perinatal safety and infection prevention.