UnitedHealth Group is donating $5 million to support a federally sponsored program seeking to accelerate and expand the availability of investigational convalescent plasma treatments for COVID-19 patients nationwide. The initiative, led by Mayo Clinic, coordinates efforts to collect blood plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 and distribute the plasma to hospitalized patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
The study of convalescent plasma treatments will investigate if antibodies found in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients can help others fight the virus, reducing severity of symptoms and improving the survival rate.
“Developing therapeutics and effective treatments for COVID-19 is essential to our efforts to fight this pandemic,” said Dr. Richard Migliori, executive vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for UnitedHealth Group. “Treating patients with convalescent plasma has the potential to save many lives and we’re honored to collaborate with Mayo Clinic and support this promising research.”
Mayo Clinic is coordinating efforts across more than 1,600 sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to collect blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 donors who meet several criteria established by the FDA. To date, more than 600 patients have received convalescent plasma treatments, and more are being added to the study every day. Physicians at any institution treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19 can participate by visiting uscovidplasma.org.
“We’re collaborating with health care organizations across the country to develop new treatments, prevent COVID-19 and address hotspots that overburden the health care system,” said Dr. Michael Joyner at Mayo Clinic, who is leading the effort. “Early indications show that convalescent plasma treatments could help in all of these areas and we greatly appreciate UnitedHealth Group’s support to advance this critical science.”
This donation brings to nearly $70 million UnitedHealth Group’s initial commitment to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities, including:
- $30 million in efforts, including $5 million from the United Health Foundation, to protect and support health care workers.
- $10 million from the United Health Foundation to support states where COVID-19 is having an outsized impact.
- $10 million to support COVID-19 response outside of the United States.
- $5 million from the United Health Foundation to support seniors.
- $5 million from the United Health Foundation to provide care and support for people experiencing food insecurity or homelessness.
- $3 million to transition company cafeterias and staff to prepare more than 75,000 free meals for local communities each week.