Canadian hematologists to initiate world’s largest clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment
While many pharmaceutical companies race to develop vaccines or new pharmacologic treatments for COVID-19, a team of Canadian hematologists have gone back to the basics with an experimental treatment involving the injection of antibody-rich plasma from recovered patients (convalescent plasma) into newly infected patients.
While small trials using convalescent plasma have been conducted, there have yet to be any large, randomized, controlled clinical trials. With the help of Canadian Blood Services, Héma-Québec and provincial health ministries, the current study aims to involve 1000 patients across 40 Canadian hospitals, making it the world’s largest clinical trial of a potential COVID-19 treatment.
The trial was originally discussed on March 29th and by April 1st, nearly every hospital in the country currently treating COVID-19 patients has signed on to participate, including centres aiming to assess treatment of pediatric patients. Lead researcher, Dr. Arnold of McMaster University, expects definitive results to be available in 6-10 months.