Yale New Haven Health is continuing to conduct testing and treatment of patients across Connecticut and Rhode Island. The health system is also involved in dozens of clinical trials that may have a positive impact on survival and outcomes of COVID-19 patients.
What is plasma therapy?
Plasma therapy is an experimental treatment that uses plasma derived from the blood samples of people who have recovered from COVID-19. The hypotheses around this form of therapy is that the plasma contains neutralizing antibodies that can transfer immunity (passive) to someone fighting the virus. Plasma therapy has been used in the past to treat SARS and Ebola as well as many other infections. This medical technique is over 100 years old.
Is Yale New Haven Health using plasma therapy?
Yale New Haven Health is participating in the national Expanded Access to Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of Patients with COVID-19. Over 200 other hospitals are currently participating in this trial. We hope that in the upcoming months, we will learn what benefits that plasma therapy may have on the recovery of COVID-19 patients.
What other experimental treatments are being used at Yale New Haven Health hospitals?
Yale New Haven Health have been using many other therapies for treating COVID-19 that include anti-malarial drugs, antivirals and immunosuppressants. Many of these are part of clinical trials while others are used for compassionate use.
What supportive therapies are being used at Yale New Haven Health hospitals?
The primary supportive therapies for treatment of COVID-19 is supplemental oxygen and intravenous fluids. When patients do not respond to these therapies, escalation of treatment includes both non-invasive as well as invasive mechanical ventilation.
Severely or critically ill patients have also required dialysis (hemodialysis or continuous dialysis) and even extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in order to sustain vital organ function.
Is there a vaccine?
There is still no vaccine. That’s why it’s so important to continue to fight the spread of COVID-19 by following proper prevention protocols and social distancing measures.
However, there are many vaccine trials underway. Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine are participating in Phase 3 of the Pfizer vaccine trial. That vaccine candidate uses a genetic code (modified RNA) to make the body generate proteins that resemble the SARS CoV-2 virus spike protein, resulting in the development of antibodies. The vaccine was proven to be effective in generating an immune response during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the trial. Phase 3 hopes to show that it can prevent infection.
What is antibody testing?
Antibody tests show whether a patient has been previously infected and/or exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Yale New Haven Health is currently conducting antibody testing but initially for just research purposes. While this antibody test may help determine whether or not someone has already been infected by the virus, it’s still unclear whether those patients can become infected with COVID-19 again or if they can still transmit it to others.