Piedmont Healthcare continues to embrace the latest and most innovative treatments for its patients now participating in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded access program to treat COVID-19 through the use of convalescent plasma and nitric oxide.
FDA Expanded Access
Sometimes referred to as “Compassionate Use,” FDA Expanded Access initiatives represent a process by which the FDA allows patients with immediately life-threatening conditions or a serious disease access to promising investigational medical product for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or alternative therapy options would suffice.
Piedmont Healthcare Joins the National Convalescent Program
Currently, the national convalescent program is run through the Mayo Clinic, to which Piedmont will report back its data. This program centers on the donation of plasma, that is 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 now available at all Piedmont hospitals.
Expansion of Nitric Oxide Use
Piedmont is also 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 now available at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and Piedmont Fayette Hospital.
COVID-19 Clinical Trials at Piedmont Healthcare
In regards to COVID-19, Piedmont investigators are conducting clinical trials for the anti-inflammatory drug gimsilumab and one that studies proning, or repositioning of patients to improve oxygen levels. Amy Hajari Case, MD, Medical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Research reports “We’re working our hardest to bring the latest treatments to our patients during the pandemic.” Dr. Hajari Case continued, “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.”
Piedmont Healthcare Background
Piedmont Healthcare empowers communities to connect with safe and high-quality care, conveniently, every step of the way. Our promise is to make a positive difference in every life we touch and today we are creating a destination known for the best clinicians and a safe one-of-a-kind experience that always puts patients first. Founded in 1905, we are a private, not-for-profit organization with over 23,000 employees caring for 2.7 million patients across 800 locations and serving communities that comprise 70 percent of Georgia’s population. Piedmont provides safe, convenient and high-quality care across 11 hospitals, 34 Piedmont Urgent Care centers, 28 QuickCare locations, 555 Piedmont Clinic physician practice locations and more than 2,500 Piedmont Clinic members. In 2019, Forbes listed us as one of the Top10 Employers in Georgia, Piedmont became Great Place to Work-Certified™, which was repeated in 2020, and is the safest health care system in Georgia. In FY 2019, Piedmont provided $340 million in uncompensated care and community benefit programming to the communities we serve.
Call to Action: For those individuals that may have a family member diagnosed positive with COVID-19 and in Piedmont Healthcare, consider connecting with the Piedmont physician to determine if one of these studies can be of help. See the link to learn more.