Task Force Begins Search for Antibody Serum to Save Lives During COVID-19 Pandemic
MIDC team helping chair committee focused on obtaining serum
As the nation struggles to combat the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. population, a task force has been formed by the Chicago Medical Society (CMS) to help with an immediate response. With NIAID Director and Presidential Coronavirus Task Force Advisor Anthony Fauci, MD, and the infectious disease community identifying the potential benefits of convalescent serum, the task force is focused on identifying donor candidates to help begin the promising treatments.
One CMS task force chair on the committee, Dr. Vishnu Chundi, MD, says there are very few real treatment options out there for COVID-19. People who have been infected by the virus and recovered make proteins called antibodies, which have the ability to neutralize the virus. He says the convalescent serum approach has presented a very real opportunity to treat patients.
“The biggest problem is that there is no vaccination and nothing really out there other than hydroxychloroquine, which may or may not work,” says Chundi, who has more than 25 years’ experience with the nation’s largest infectious disease group Metro Infectious Disease Consultants. “If you are hospitalized with COVID-19, other than oxygenation and support, there’s not much else the doctors can do to treat you.”
With convalescent serum, the antibodies of the people who have previously been infected can be given to patients who are very sick, potentially saving many lives. The challenge is identifying those potential donors and quickly matching them with existing patients.
SIGNUP TO DONATE ANTIBODIES AT: Covid19chi.org
“We are trying to get donors out there who have been infected to sign up on our website and to help us fight this virus. As of right now, we don’t have enough serum to help everyone who may need it,” says Chundi.
Recognizing there may be a perception or stigma attached to anyone who has had COVID-19, Chundi says these people should feel empowered because they have something that makes them special when it comes to surviving COVID-19. “They can make that distinction pay off for someone who is still battling for their life with COVID-19 – by donating their antibodies.”
By signing up to donate antibodies, this is really an opportunity to contribute to the health of others who are really sick in the hospital right now.