TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Research work continues at UT Health Science Center in Tyler looking into the benefits of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, along with other treatments and even a vaccine. And not only are East Texas doctors involved in this very important work, but also East Texas patients.
“Since we’ve talked, we are participating in the NIH trial and are one of the top enrollers in the country," said Julie Philley, M.D.
We first visited with Dr. Philley in August as UTHSC embarked on a study looking at the benefits of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.
Almost 60 of about 300 patients taking part in the national study are here in East Texas, according to Philley.
“We’re giving plasma to very sick people and we’re also enrolling them in the trial," Philley said.
In August, Philley said while the treatment was already being used on some of the most severe patients, some very important questions remained unanswered. Questions they’re now finding answers to as a result of this study.
“We’re trying to do everything we can of course to fight this virus, but also to participate in the best research for East Texans, and we have several other research projects that are ongoing," Philley said.
Among those other projects: vaccine research and treatments for the most-severe patients who have recovered.
“The next steps that we all hope for is that we’ll find a way to have a vaccine that’s available, effective, and safe for our citizens," Philley said. "I think other treatment options, things like antibodies and plasma, will be available and we can hopefully shorten the duration of this illness if not prevent it.”
Philley said they’re still learning about COVID-19′s long-term effects on not only the lungs, but the kidneys, and brain among other things.