UF Health part of convalescent plasma trial

FILE - A doctor holds a donation of convalescent plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient at the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital, in Panama City, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The blood product donated from recovered COVID-19 patients, known as convalescent plasma, may have antibodies that can help those critically ill from the virus. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) (Arnulfo Franco, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – University of Florida Health announced Tuesday it enrolled two patients in a national clinical trial about convalescent blood plasma and whether it can reduce the effects of COVID-19.

UF Health is one of 50 medical centers nationwide participating in the clinical trial, which is expected to enroll 600 patients.

Enrolled patients must have a mild form of COVID-19 but be at risk of developing more severe cases because of immunity issues, their ages, lung disease or diabetes, Lisa H. Merck, a physician who is vice chair of research in the UF College of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine and site principal investigator, said in a prepared statement.

Researchers are interested in how patients respond in the first two weeks of their illness but will track patients for a month.

It is a blind clinical trial, meaning patients won’t know whether they have been given convalescent blood plasma or placebos.