Opinion: Superspreader Sunday? What to do if you are exposed to COVID-19 at a Super Bowl meeting


officials have urged soccer fans to celebrate the Super Bowl at home this year. The virus makes no difference whether people cheer on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Kansas City Chiefs, or just enjoy the commercials and the halftime show. Some will follow this advice, while others won’t be able to resist watching the biggest soccer game of the year with their fellow fans. Of course, the decision between looking at home and watching with a group of friends and family carries the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Experts increasingly point to small gatherings in homes and apartments as one of the main contributors to the continued spread of COVID-19.

For those who watch the Great Game with a group of friends and are exposed to COVID-19, isolation is not enough. It is time to be part of the solution. ‘I think I was exposed’ Despite highly effective vaccines being given, people will continue to test positive for the foreseeable future. New variants of COVID-19 are also cause for concern. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, instead of taking a “wait and see” approach or remain silent in the face of potential embarrassment, consider joining a clinical trial. My colleagues and I at Johns Hopkins University are working with 25 test sites in major cities across the US and the Navajo Nation on a potentially revolutionary solution that could help us reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and control its spread. . We are investigating whether a blood plasma transfusion containing high levels of COVID-19 antibodies, given early in the disease, reduces the severity of the disease or even prevents people from developing an infection altogether. For those at high risk, we believe this treatment has the potential to cut hospitalizations in half and prevent deaths. For those with milder cases, we believe that antibody-rich plasma will speed up recovery time and reduce the spread of the virus. But to really know, we must do the clinical trials. While a vaccine may be faster than receiving a blood transfusion, convalescent plasma is perhaps our best short-term hope. Consider the impact at a Big Game party where an attendee tested positive for COVID-19. Instead of each person who went to the meeting having to self-quarantine for two weeks, both the infected person and those who came into contact with that person could immediately receive a dose of plasma, possibly creating a circle of immunity around a positive case and preventing the virus from spreading. Now apply that to a high school, where a student tested positive. A poultry processing line in a meat factory. An aircraft carrier. A nursing home. How convalescent plasma works Convalescent plasma is not a new therapy. Doctors have used blood plasma for more than a century to combat serious diseases in hospitals, including, for example, measles, a disease even more communicable than COVID-19, as well as childhood diphtheria infection, the influenza pandemic. 1918 and the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. This treatment even received the Nobel Prize in 1901 for the saving nature of antibody transfer in childhood diphtheria infection. We are now applying modern blood banking technology, the latest in immunology and virology science and clinical trial methodology, to find out if, when and how it works against COVID-19. Compared to drugs or vaccines, the potential benefits of blood plasma are many: it is produced in nature, not in factories, therefore the chances of problems with the supply chain or factory recalls are lower. Production, delivery and warehousing are inexpensive and profitable, and can be easily scaled, especially in resource-limited countries like India and Brazil. If approved, outpatient clinics with proper freezer storage and sterilization for blood transfusions could immediately treat people anywhere in the world. Furthermore, plasma from individuals who have defeated viral variants can be rapidly deployed to respond to this threat more quickly than monoclonals or vaccines. While I still cannot say that this treatment will work, there is reason for hope. A recent Argentine study published in The New England Journal of Medicine of 160 patients, all over the age of 65, showed that early use of convalescent plasma reduced the relative risk of severe respiratory disease by 48% in the adults studied. If the Johns Hopkins trials can confirm that the use of blood plasma is effective in all age groups, we would be much closer to preventing outbreaks, reducing transmission periods, reducing hospitalizations and deaths, and returning to normal, sooner, so that we can all we can support our favorite teams together with our friends and family, without putting our health and safety at risk. How to help This is where you come in. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past six (6) days or have been exposed in the past three (3) days to a family member or colleague who tested positive, you could potentially receive life-saving treatment and help to end the pandemic. You can use this Clinical Trial Location Finder to find the testing site closest to you. On the first day of joining our study, a volunteer will sign up for the trial and receive a physical exam. The next day, the volunteer will receive a plasma transfusion. As the disease progresses, the volunteer will attend virtual and face-to-face follow-up visits. Volunteers will have direct access to high-quality COVID-19 testing and infectious disease physicians as they go through the recovery phases. All medical care provided as part of the study is free and volunteers can be compensated. Watching the Super Bowl has become an unofficial holiday in the US It’s a day when we get together with friends and family to share sports snacks, watch quirky commercials, and watch celebrity musical acts at halftime. While COVID-19 might have the power to take these traditions away from us right now, all of that can change if we come together and fight for ways to take back what we value. Shmuel Shoham, MD, is an infectious disease expert and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a principal investigator for the Johns Hopkins Plasma Assays. To see if you qualify for the study, visit CovidPlasmaTrial.org or call 888-506-1199. Also Read: Dr. Fauci Warns Against Super Bowl Parties: ‘Just Keep Calm And Cool Down’ Plus: New South African Strain Is More Infectious And Also Makes COVID-19 Vaccines Less Effective