Seeking Individuals Who Have Recovered From COVID-19 To Donate Plasma To Help Patients Fighting The Infection
New study, led by physician researchers from Renown Health and University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine seeks to understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 with goal of developing a new treatment. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may now be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating their plasma. Those who have recovered from the infection may have COVID-19 antibodies in their blood. These antibodies provided one way for their immune systems to fight the virus when they were sick, so their blood may be used to help others fight off the disease through convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is a component of blood from recovered patients that may contain precious COVID-19 antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. In this study, we will be collecting plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and investigating its efficacy in helping treat other patients with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for the disease and there is information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19. Renown Health and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) are leading a study locally to better understand how the body’s immune system responds to the virus, how it presents in northern Nevada and ultimately, aid in developing a new treatment for COVID-19. “Renown and UNR Med are at the forefront of conducting essential research to increase the health and safety of our community,” said Sara Healy, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and a pediatric infectious disease physician at Renown Children’s Hospital and UNR Med. “So little is known about effectively treating COVID-19 and we are venturing into new territory. This important study is instrumental in helping us understand the immune systems of people who were affected by COVID-19, and with their help, getting us one step closer to finding a treatment for the disease that has significantly impacted our nation and our community.” “COVID-19 survivors are in a unique and exciting position to be a part of something much bigger than the virus,” said Mark Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM, associate investigator of the study and Associate Dean for Clinical Research at UNR Med. “As a participant of this study, not only are you helping us to better understand the disease and the chronic health affects it has long term, but it’s a way to help those suffering from the disease to fight it and hopefully recover. We encourage participation in this important study and invaluable contributions to advancing medicine and our knowledge of COVID-19.” This community-wide study led by physician researchers from Renown Health and UNR Med is a collaborative effort with Vitalant, county and state health districts, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Health and the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, along with the many care providers in our area. People aged 18-60 in general good health who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating convalescent plasma as part of this study. There are 332 people, just in Washoe County (as of 5/1/20) who have recovered from COVID-19 and have immune systems that may now be producing antibodies to protect them from becoming infected again with coronavirus. Donated plasma is needed right now, for this clinical trial to determine definitively if this treatment works. Participating in this research study will also make it easier to donate plasma to the Mayo Clinic convalescent plasma program that Renown is a part of in hopes to find a treatment for COVID-19. There is no cost to participate in this study and participation is voluntary. An individual’s decision to participate will not affect their current or future relations with their health care provider(s), health district, or the community. Those who decide to participate are free to withdraw at any time. Confirmed COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the virus and are interested in participating in the study are invited to contact the project coordinators at the Renown Research Office at (775) 982-3646, or via e-mail at email@example.com, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org. About the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada’s first medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.
The study could expand to a quarter million people, making Nevada the only state in the U.S. to offer such a program Las Vegas, Nev. (May 2, 2019) – The Healthy Nevada Project, a first-of-its-kind, community-based population health study combining genetic, clinical, environmental and social data, is expanding enrollment to Las Vegas. The Project aspires not only to offer genetic testing to every Nevadan interested in learning more about their health and genetic profile but ultimately, to develop and expand the Project for communities across the United States to drive positive health outcomes nationwide. Adding 25,000 Study Volunteers in Southern Nevada The Healthy Nevada Project is announcing a statewide expansion – opening 25,000 testing slots in Las Vegas. With southern Nevada welcoming the study, the Healthy Nevada Project will offer no-cost genetic testing through a simple spit sample to 25,000 study volunteers. Study volunteers will take Helix’s clinical-grade DNA saliva test and will receive their ancestry and traits, at no cost, through the My Healthy Nevada Traits app. Participants will then be given a chance to answer a follow-up health survey from Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI), and upon survey completion, will be entered to win an iPhone. In addition, study participants can agree to be notified about genetic test results that could impact their health, and which could be used to improve their medical care. This return of clinical results, plus genetic counseling and other genetic services as appropriate, will be provided by Genome Medical, the leading network of clinical genetics specialists. Healthy Nevada Project’s Evolution & Ongoing Expansion With more than 35,000 study participants enrolled in just over two years, the Healthy Nevada Project has become the fastest-enrolling genetic study in the country. The Project was created by Renown IHI – a collaboration between Reno, Nev.-based not-for-profit health network, Renown Health, and the world leader in environmental data, Desert Research Institute (DRI). Leveraging Renown’s forward-thinking approach to community health care and DRI’s data analytics and environmental expertise, Renown IHI has grown its capabilities to lead a larger, more complex research study of significance that will analyze and model public health risks in Nevada and serve as a national model for future population health studies working to improve overall health through clinical care integration. During the Project’s pilot launch in September 2016, more than 10,000 community members signed up for DNA testing in just 48 hours. In March 2018, phase two offered full genomic sequencing through a simple spit test from Helix to northern Nevadans. In October 2018, the Project announced the return of clinical results for study participants, notifying them of their risk for CDC Tier 1 conditions including familial hypercholesterolemia, BRCA positive 1 and 2, and Lynch syndrome, a precursor to colon cancer. These conditions affect more than one percent of the population and are inherited so they impact family members as well. Now, the Project announced its next phase – expanding enrollment to 25,000 people in southern Nevada. Serving as a National Model This expansion to Las Vegas truly makes this the “Healthy Nevada Project” with a statewide impact making Nevada the only state in the U.S. to offer such a program. “Nevada was ripe to advance population health goals because, sadly, our state ranks near the bottom in health outcomes. The Healthy Nevada Project is working to change that,” said Anthony Slonim, M.D., DrPH, FACHE, president and CEO of Renown Health and president of Renown IHI. “Our researchers are working on a number of clinical programs and scientific studies to determine why in Washoe County, the county in which Renown Health is located, Nevada’s age-adjusted death rates for heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease are 33 percent higher than the national rate. Imagine if we can gather more data like this on a national scale and use it to change the future of health and health care? That is what the Healthy USA Project is looking to do in the years to come.” “The Healthy Nevada Project is committed to providing study participants clinically actionable data that will help improve their health,” said Joseph Grzymski, Ph.D., associate research professor at DRI, principal investigator of the Healthy Nevada Project and chief scientific officer for Renown Health. “We are providing this information at the individual level so study volunteers can make lifesaving changes to reduce their risk. We’re also doing it on the community level to develop leading-edge research on health determinants for entire neighborhoods, states and eventually, the country.” Expanding to Become the Healthy USA Project The accelerated speed of the Project is made possible thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of sequencing. Today, Helix is able to sequence an entire exome – which allows reporting on most actionable genomic knowledge – for a fraction of what it would have cost just 10 years ago. Additionally, advances in digital health mean Helix and Project researchers can capture unprecedented amounts of health data digitally, making significant contributions to advancing precision health. The partnership has managed to remove the traditional barriers of population health studies, including the difficulty in recruiting participants, establishing quality high through put lab systems, and scaling interpretation and return of results. This development will be key as other health systems around the country join the Project. “We are thrilled to see the constant, fast-paced evolution of this Project with Renown IHI,” said Justin Kao, CoFounder of Helix. “In less than a year, we have sequenced the DNA of thousands of study participants and are now preparing to offer this incredible study in other states. Combining environmental, clinical, social and genetic data allows us to discover risk factors within communities and help people take action to live longer, healthier lives. That’s what makes the next step of the Healthy USA Project so exciting for all of us. ”Full details on study’s evolution and southern Nevada enrollment will be revealed at a press event in Las Vegas on Tuesday, May 7 at 3 p.m. Renown Institute for Health Innovation Renown Institute for Health Innovation is a collaboration between Renown Health - a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California; and the Desert Research Institute - a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. Renown IHI research teams are focused on integrating personal healthcare and environmental data with socioeconomic determinants to help Nevada address some of its most complex environmental health problems; while simultaneously expanding the state’s access to leading-edge clinical trials and fostering new connections with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Learn more at https://healthynv.org/. Helix is a genomics company with a simple but powerful mission: to empower every person to improve their life through DNA. Our affordable, turnkey population health solution enables institutions to quickly scale projects that engage communities and accelerate research and discovery, ultimately allowing every person to benefit from the power of genomics. We've also created the first marketplace for DNA-powered products where people can explore diverse and uniquely personalized products developed by high-quality partners, providing powerful tools to increase engagement and speed the pace of population-scale genomics. Helix is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, has an office in Denver, Colorado and operates a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited next-generation sequencing lab in San Diego powered by Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) NGS technology. Helix was created in 2015. Learn more at www.helix.com. Helix, the Helix logo and Exome+ are trademarks of Helix Opco, LLC. All other trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Additional Media Contacts: Tracy Bower DRI 702-862-5404 firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Schubert Seismic for Helix 415-939-4366 email@example.com