The National Institutes of Health today awarded the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore a $4.3 million grant to test plasma in treating COVID-19.
Einstein and Montefiore launched a Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 in April. The $4.3 million will support the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, according to a news release.
The NIH grant did not go directly to the principal investigators of the trial, but instead to the Clinical and Translational Science Awards program, which funds the Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore (ICTR).
Convalescent plasma therapy received FDA approval for investigational use in an open-label protocol in March. Researchers at Einstein and Montefiore are pursuing the “gold standard” of a clinical trial to determine if the plasma can alleviate COVID-19 symptoms and reduce mortality rates.
To date, 180 people have been enrolled in the study, which is expanding to other sites. The researchers hope results from the trial arrive by early 2021.
“Convalescent plasma has a long history of improving symptoms and decreasing mortality associated with pandemic diseases, dating back to meningitis at the beginning of the 20th century,” Einstein and Montefiore chief of infectious diseases & principal investigator Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski said in the release. “Historically, studies of convalescent plasma for pandemic diseases have been small and the results anecdotal. We are hopeful that our randomized controlled trial will provide a definite answer on its efficacy for COVID-19.”