The University Hospital of Ghent recently saw a patient struggling with a severe COVID-19-based infection rapidly improve after receiving a convalescent plasma procedure.
TrialSite News updates the network based on recent news out of the Brussels Times in Belgium.
What was the situation?
A 40-year old patient, a male—was in intensive care at UZ Ghent and was struggling with a severe case caused by the novel coronavirus. The patient had a preexisting condition: an immune system disorder that professor Bart Lambrecht noted recently reported on Radio 2. According to professor Lambrecht, “The man in question has a serious disorder in his immune system, which he has known since he was born.” Lambrecht continued, “He did not produce any antibodies for the coronavirus, so it was impossible for him to recover on his own.”
How bad was the virus?
Bad. The patient had the virus in his body for 25 days, and Maïthé Chini of Brussels Times reports that for the past 14 days he had been on a respirator.
How did the University of Hospital of Ghent team consider Convalescent Plasma?
Professor Lambrecht noted, “We thought he would not make it, but then we had found something in the literature. In China they tried treatment with a transfusion of blood plasma from someone who had recovered from the disease before.”
What did the Hospital do once they learned of the Chinese COVID-19 plasma experiments?
Well they started looking for a suitable donor and actually found one of their own—one of the doctors at the hospital!
What were the results after administering the Convalescent plasma?
Once the University of Ghent team took the plasma and infused it into the patient, the results were immediately noticeable, reported professor Lambrecht. In fact, he commented, “The effect was truly remarkable. Barely two days later, we were able to turn off all respirators.” Hence the patient is no longer in the intensive care unit and Lambrecht reports that “he is doing better and better.”
A Belgium Plasma Research Collaboration Targeting COVID-19 is born
Moving forward, UZ Ghent, along with universities of Leuven and Liège, will carry out further research into the treatment of COVID-19 patients with blood plasma (e.g. Convalescent plasma), reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Is the UZ Ghent team looking into other experimental treatments addressing severe COVID-19 cases?
Yes. They are also looking into medicines that are meant to treat rheumatism, reports professor Lambrecht.
About University Hospital Ghent (UZ Ghent)
This Belgium (Flemish) provider represents one of the largest hospitals in Belgium. It is closely linked to Ghent University, the university’s rector also being the hospital’s president. Both the university and the hospital are autonomous entities of the Flemish Government. The hospital has over 1,000 beds and about 6,000 employees. The hospital is also known as “Campus Heymans”, named after Nobel Prize winner Corneille Heymans.
Call to Acton: The use of Convalescent plasma is gaining momentum to combat COVID-19. In the U.S., TrialSite News has been a clearinghouse for many physicians seeking to participate in studies, as well as patients interested in donating plasma. Participate in studies where you can—give back to help the world fight COVID-19.