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Versiti receives grant from Advancing Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) to advance convalescent plasma research

Milwaukee – April 21, 2020

Grant of nearly $400 thousand will help to find treatment for COVID-19 patients

Versiti Blood Research Institute, a national leader in blood health innovation, has been awarded a grant of more than $382 thousand by the Advancing Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) to be applied to research related to convalescent plasma to treat patients with COVID-19.

AHW Urgent Response to COVID-19 funding invests in Wisconsin-based community health, government, and health care organizations to support immediate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic focused on efforts to support prevention, risk reduction, or the development of infrastructure required to minimize the transmission of the virus.

Versiti is working with Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), under the direction of Gilbert White, M.D., Versiti EVP for research and chief science officer and professor at MCW, who is serving as the primary investigator. “This funding is invaluable to advancing our research,” said Dr. White. “Determining how convalescent plasma treatment can benefit COVID-19 patients will be a breakthrough. There are still unknowns surrounding this treatment – and our goal is to uncover them in an effort to help save the lives of the thousands who continue to be afflicted.” The research project involves a clinical trial component with recovered coronavirus patients, who will be referred by hospitals.

Mary Beth Graham, M.D.,FIDSA, FACP, Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control Froedtert Hospital & Associate Chief, Division of Infectious Disease, Medical College of Wisconsin, is working in collaboration with Dr. White.

“We extend our gratitude to AHW for their consideration of this important work,” said Dr. Graham. “What is needed now are individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 and willing to take part in our research so that others can benefit.”

“This grant represents a collaboration between multiple specialists at MCW and Versiti including experts in transfusion medicine, infectious diseases, hematology, immunology and critical care,” said, Parameswaran Hari, M.D., Armand J. Quick/William F. Stapp Professor of Hematology and Chief in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at MCW. “Notably, this trial provides convalescent plasma therapy for patients in need. Additionally, we hope to answer some fundamental questions regarding immune responses to COVID and blood coagulation pathway abnormalities.”

Potential donors can contact 1-866-702-HOPE (866-702-4673) or visit versiti.org/covid19plasma

This blood-related treatment – approved by the FDA as an Emergency Investigational New Drug (EIND) – could offer hope to the hundreds of patients who continue to be diagnosed. This treatment would be used by hospitals for the most severely affected patients.

Versiti blood centers, among the first in the U.S. to begin collecting convalescent plasma, is working with its partner hospitals to identify recovered patients.

About Versiti

Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our health care partners nationally. We provide innovative, value added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care and cost efficiencies for health care systems nationwide. For more information, visit versiti.org.


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