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Maryland Department of Health

CovidCONNECT

Why Clinical Studies Are Important

Clinical research is essential to the development of new medications, new treatments, and new vaccines especially in a novel virus such as COVID-19. As someone who is recovering or has recovered from COVID-19, your participation may prove key in clinical research and trials. 

Such trials may be categorized as one of the following:

  • Treatment studies: Test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches and therapies.
  • Prevention studies: Investigate better approaches to eliminate disease which may include medicines, vaccines, or lifestyle changes, among other things.
  • Diagnostic studies: Evaluate and determine better methods of testing or procedures for identifying a particular disease or condition.
  • Screening studies: Investigate and determine the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions.
  • Quality of life studies (or supportive care studies): Explore and measure ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people who have suffered from the disease. 

Carefully conducted clinical research studies are seen as the fastest and safest way to find effective treatments, improve standards of care, and identify methods to improve health care.  Participating in clinical research is essential for the development of new medications and new treatments. Click here for FAQs on the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

Local Clinical Trials and Studies

University of Maryland School of Public Health: Virus Shedding and Face Mask Study

        Currently recruiting:

  • Anyone with COVID-19 who has recent onset of symptoms (a week or less and isolated at home) for virus shedding and face mask testing;
  • Household contacts of someone with COVID-19 infection for contact follow-up testing; or
  • Anyone working or living on or near the UMD College Park campus for a daily survey and weekly testing

For more information about this and other UMD studies about COVID-19 email stopcovid@umd.edu or call 424-246-8358.

Plasma Donation

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies. These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease.

What is Convalescent Plasma?

Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Those who have completely recovered from COVID-19 may have immune-boosting antibodies, which are proteins that can help fight infections. When a person’s plasma, or the liquid part of the blood, contains these immune-boosting antibodies, it is called “convalescent plasma.” Convalescent plasma could be used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is allowing the transfusion of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment. It’s currently the only antibody treatment available for COVID-19 patients.

Donation eligibility 

You may qualify to help if you meet specific convalescent plasma and regular blood donation eligibility requirements, including if you:

  • Have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom free and fully recovered from COVID-19.
  • Are at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 lbs. Additional weight requirements apply for donors age 18 or younger.
  • Are in good health. You generally feel well, even if you’re being treated for a chronic condition.

How Can I Donate Convalescent Plasma?

Several resources are available regarding options to donate convalescent plasma in your area. To learn more and find the site nearest you: