Piedmont participating in latest COVID-19 treatment programs

Piedmont Healthcare, in a continuing effort to bring the latest and most innovative treatments to its patients, is participating in U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded access programs to treat COVID-19 through the use of convalescent plasma and nitric oxide, according to a press release.

FDA expanded access programs, sometimes called “compassionate use,” represent a process by which patients with immediately life-threatening conditions or a serious disease can gain access to an investigational medical product for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or alternative therapy options are available.

The convalescent plasma program is being run through the Mayo Clinic, to which Piedmont will report back its data. The convalescent plasma program involves the donation of plasma, the liquid portion of the blood, from COVID-19 survivors and possesses antibodies. Antibodies are the protein the body uses to fight infections. The Red Cross is one organization that is receiving donations of plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 and then donating them to Piedmont patients who are part of the program. This program is available at all Piedmont hospitals.

In addition, Piedmont also is exploring the use of nitric oxide for hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients who are not on a ventilator. As part of this protocol, the patient’s oxygen is mixed with nitric oxide in the hope that it will help to open the patient’s airways to improve oxygen levels in the blood. This program is available at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and at Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

Regarding COVID-19 research, Piedmont is participating in clinical trials for the anti-inflammatory drug gimsilumab and one that studies proning, or repositioning patients to improve oxygen levels.

“We are working our hardest to bring the latest treatments to our patients during the pandemic,” said Amy Hajari Case, M.D., Piedmont’s Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Research. “Clinical research is playing an important role in the treatment of patients who are positive for COVID-19 and it is our hope that these programs will help to reduce the disease’s mortality and shorten the hospital stays for others.”

Information: piedmont.org/research/research-home.