As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, teams at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are using a collaborative approach to identify and test potential treatments for the disease.
Over the past few weeks, clinicians from the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Division of Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine, and Immune Dysregulation Program have come together to explore the use of convalescent plasma to treat patients with COVID-19. This experimental treatment involves collecting plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and infusing this plasma, which contains antibodies against the virus, into a patient who is very ill with the disease. CHOP has treated several pediatric patients using this approach.
The team is also working with the hospital’s Occupational Health Department to identify CHOP staff who have recovered from COVID-19 and are willing to be plasma donors.
So far, more than 40 CHOP employees have volunteered.
More to learn — and much to offer
Providing experimental treatments like convalescent plasma requires a depth of expertise that CHOP’s teams are uniquely equipped to offer. “Getting a patient convalescent plasma is not an easy task and requires teamwork from a large number of people across CHOP," says oncologist/hematologist David Teachey, MD, co-director of the Immune Dysregulation Program, who is helping with the effort to find COVID-19 treatments at CHOP.
Every day, Teachey and other CHOP researchers are learning more about COVID-19, and they’re using that knowledge to identify potential treatment options to pursue. For example, Kathleen Chiotos, MD, an attending physician in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, has led an effort to treat several children with remdesivir, an experimental antiviral medication that has shown promising early results as a treatment for severely ill COVID-19 patients.
As scientists and clinicians continue to explore new treatment options for COVID-19, employees across CHOP are making their own important contributions to CHOP’s COVID-19 response. Says Charles Deich, a support analyst in CHOP’s Information Services Department who has volunteered to donate plasma: “We’re all fighting the same fight.”