The longer the threat of COVID-19 sticks around, the more research that’s being done in the U.S., and right here in North Dakota.

The goal: to find a cure, and to minimize risk in the meantime.

This was the topic of Wednesday’s discussion with Department of Health Advisor and UND Dean of Medicine, Dr. Joshua Wynne.

The first big clinical trial that’s taking place nationwide is the use of convalescent plasma to treat coronavirus patients. Medical professionals are taking donated plasma from recovered patients, and infusing it with blood transferred to current patients.

Dr. Wynne says it’s important to remember that trials are being sped up immensely right now because of the pandemic, so just because these treatments are being used right away, doesn’t mean they’ve proven effective.

“It’s encouraging, and in a desperate patient, it’s certainly worth trying. But would I be confident in saying it’s accepted practice? No,” Dr. Wynne added.

Dr. Wynne says antibody tests are also incredibly encouraging.

He says although it’s not a perfect predictor of who’s had COVID-19 and has developed some immunity to it, it will be an important tool for healthcare workers to be able to know how high of a risk they have in contracting the virus.