An experimental treatment to fight COVID-19 is launching at a Southern U.S. Hospital. Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida is the first in the Sunshine State to join the multi-national trial. The treatment uses antibodies to attack the virus in an attempt to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread.

"We’re very excited about this trial, which involves the first antiviral antibody cocktail specifically designed to attack a critical part of the coronavirus, the spike protein that attaches to human cells,” said Dr. Manuel Gordillo.

“In early laboratory tests, it completely obliterated the coronavirus at relatively low concentrations.”

The first tests will be run on patients who are currently in the hospital with COVID-19 and in need of oxygen.

A second study is set to follow later in mid-July on those who are not in hospitals and have a more mild form of illness associated with the novel coronavirus.

In addition, a separate trial will be done to evaluate the antiviral antibody cocktail's ability to prevent new infections for those who have not yet contracted the virus but have been in close contact with those who have tested positive, such as a housemate or family member.

According to a release from Sarasota Memorial, this isn't the only experiment the hospital has been participating in either.

“As hospitalizations increase, we thankfully have a greater understanding of COVID-19 and more potential treatment options than at the start of the pandemic,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder.

The hospital has also been conducting clinical trials to see how effective plasma may be for treating currently hospitalized patients.

The plasma used has been donated by those who have already had and recovered from COVID-19. So far, encouraging results have been seen in the 36 who have received treatments, though the hospital now faces a critical plasma shortage.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19, Sarasota Memorial Hospital encourages you to contact the Suncoast Blood Centers to see if you qualify to donate plasma, either by phone at 941-993-8119 or by email at covid19@suncoastblood.org.

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