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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / April 2022 / National Study: Early Treatment with COVID Convalescent Plasma Prevents Hospitalization

National Study: Early Treatment with COVID Convalescent Plasma Prevents Hospitalization

The UR CTSI was part of a national clinical trial showing that plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID is a safe and effective early outpatient treatment for others with the disease. Results of the trial, which was led by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study showed that administering antibody-rich COVID convalescent plasma to COVID patients within nine days of their first symptoms reduced their risk of hospitalization by 54 percent. It also confirmed the safety of the treatment – with fewer side effects reported among the group who received COVID convalescent plasma compared with those who received control plasma.

Study authors believe convalescent plasma is a valuable addition to the existing arsenal of outpatient COVID treatments, especially where existing drugs and monoclonal antibodies are scarce – and in light of reports that some monoclonal antibodies are less effective against new COVID variants.

“While monoclonal antibodies contain a single purified antibody against SARS-CoV-2, convalescent plasma contains many different antibodies,” said UR CTSI Co-Director Martin Zand, M.D., Ph.D., who was an author on the study and led the local study site. “So convalescent plasma is likely to maintain effectiveness against new strains of the virus.”

Zand, who is also the senior associate dean for Clinical Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center, conducted the local arm of the study through the UR CTSI’s Clinical Research Center, making use of its specialized space and skilled research staff. This study led to recognition of the need for new dedicated research infusion space, opened last fall, to conduct studies and test new infusion drugs, like convalescent plasma and COVID infusion therapies.

“The UR CTSI’s research infrastructure – particularly the Clinical Research Center – is a large part of why URMC was selected as a site for this study,” said Zand. “That enabled us to offer a treatment to our community that they might not have been able to access otherwise.”

Read the full press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine and learn how the Red Cross is processing qualifying blood donations into convalescent plasma.


The UR CTSI’s Clinical Research Center is supported by the University of Rochester CTSA award number UL1 TR002001 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The Clinical Research Center provides an optimal setting to conduct safe and controlled inpatient and outpatient clinical studies involving children and adults.

Michael Hazard | 4/1/2022

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