Rhode Island Hospital is part of national trial involving convalescent plasma - Adam Levine, MD

Researchers worked to prevent the progression of COVID-19 early on.

Rhode Island Hospital is one of 30 test sites nationally.

This research centers around using a century-old technology: convalescent plasma.

Right now, it’s being used as a treatment in the hospital setting for some of our sickest COVID-19 patients.

"We know that the convalescent plasma with antibodies from people that are recovered is very effective the earlier it's given,” said Dr. David Sullivan, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We got permission from the FDA to do a randomized clinical trial in an outpatient setting."

Sullivan says they branched out across the country to test this.

Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, one of the sites that got the nod.

"We do believe that it may be most effective actually if it's given early in the course of the disease,” said Dr. Adam Levine, an emergency medicine physician at Rhode Island Hospital who’s leading the investigation locally.

"We are enrolling people who are recently infected with COVID-19, people who are in the first week of symptoms so most of those people are not that sick yet but some of them will go on to be very ill and may die and we're hoping we can prevent that from happening,” said Levine.

"We have an infection prevention, mainly household contact, family members of people that are newly positive who are asymptomatic and test negative. So we're trying to see if we can prevent infection,” said Sullivan.

This plasma will be thoroughly tested for viruses and bacteria.

"And it's tested, and this is very important, to make sure that it has really high levels of the antibodies against coronavirus because we want to make sure it's effective,” said Levine. "If we can essentially neutralize the virus early in the course of the disease, we hope we can avoid some of these longer-term complications that come from the virus hanging out in our body for a really long time."

Rhode Island hospital is enrolling now. The only other site in New England enrolling for this clinical trial is UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

This study is being funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.

For more information on the trial, click here.

There are two numbers to call.

For Rhode Island Hospital Research line: 401-444-3813.

For the national hotline: 888-506-1199.

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