Norton Healthcare has launched a study to evaluate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in the fight against COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is not a miracle cure for the virus but may be effective in keeping infected patients from becoming critically ill. The plasma comes from blood donated by recovered patients. It contains immune cells and antibodies, which the body uses to fight infections. The Louisville healthcare giant is among the first in the nation to conduct such a study.

The clinical trial will study hospitalized patients with complicating factors like cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung problems and high blood pressure. Researchers will study plasmas effectiveness in changing respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation, and antibody levels. 

“This is exciting because we’re trying to provide an early intervention to prevent progression of COVID-19,” said Joseph Flynn, physician-in-chief at the Norton Cancer Institute said in a press release. “This has great implications for long-term care facilities and the many at-risk individuals who remain in a difficult position.”