Martin Tolstrup, associate professor at Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and Department of Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. Photo: Tonny Foghmar
Maybe cured corona patients carry a treatment for COVID-19 in their blood? Researchers at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital will study if the antibodies in the blood of cured COVID-19 patients can protect against the new coronavirus. The study has received DKK 7 million from a new Danish government programme for research in the new coronavirus/COVID-19.
When the body is attacked by virus, it produces antibodies in the blood to fight the disease. A new study from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital will find out if antibodies from cured COVID-19 patients can be used in the treatment of patients infected with the new coronavirus. The study is led by Martin Tolstrup, associate professor at Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and Department of Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital.
”The study investigates the quality of the antibodies of cured COVID-19 patients. Antibodies are produced to fight the infection and we must find out if the quality of the antibodies is high enough to be used in the treatment of patients with COVID-19”, says Martin Tolstrup, who has received close to DKK 7 million from the new Danish government research funding programme of DKK 150 million.
The purpose of the study is to extract blood plasma from the blood of cured persons and use it in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 by a blood transfusion. At first, the treatment is targeted at patients with COVID-19 who are not yet critically ill but at risk of developing critical illness.
”Antibodies are very effective as a biological drug because it is a part of the body’s own immune system. The study will test the quality of the antibodies produced in cured COVID-19 patients. When we induce the antobodies in an infected person, we hope this will help the body to fight the infection”, says Martin Tolstrup. Together with his research colleagues, he has contacted cured patients, who play a key role to complete the study.
”We have contacted persons who were tested positive for the new coronavirus approximately four weeks ago and who are now cured. At this time, they have the amount of antibodies in the blood to measure it optimally, says Martin Tolstrup.
He expects that a minimum of 200 formerly infected persons will be enrolled in the study at Aarhus University Hospital. Already now, more cured patients have volunteered to be donors.
”We have received a very positive respons. Many would like to contribute to the study and we are very pleased with that”, says Martin Tolstrup.
The study is divided into two phases; in the first phase, researchers will extract and test the antibodies in the blood of cured patients to measure the quality of the antibodies. This will be done in a research laboratory in Aarhus. In phase two, hospitalised patients who are believed to benefit from a plasma transfusion with plasma extracted from the donor blood will have the transfusion. The plasma transfusion will take place at several Danish hospitals.
MSc, associate professor at Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital
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