WINDSOR, ONT. -- Stored in the basement of Windsor Regional Hospital is hope.

“Hope that we can save lives,” said researcher Dr. Caroline Hamm.

The Hospital has created an “Academic and Research Committee” because the chief of staff admits they didn’t have a good handle on what was under the microscope. One of the first things the committee is focused on, is a possible treatment for COVID-19.

A freezer in the hospital’s blood bank in the basement is storing plasma for a clinical trial on the use of convalescent serum. It is kept at a cold negative 30 C.

“To give patients who have COVID, serum from patients who have recovered from COVID, in the hopes that their antibodies will fight the infection,” said chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad.

So long as a COVID patient needs oxygen, but doesn’t need to be intubated, they could qualify to be part of the trial.

“They have a two out of three chance of getting the actual serum that has already been collected and is being stored right here in Windsor,” Dr. Hamm said.

Dr. Hamm is no stranger to research, and even she is shocked at how quickly this trial was approved.

“This clinical trial went at COVID speed,” she said. “It went so quickly it took us only two and a half months to open up.”

Dr. Saad said the hospital had wanted to be part of the national and international trials for COVID that have started.

“We kinda hide out here in the lab, help from behind so this, it feels like we’re doing something, feels like we’re actually becoming part of, hopefully, a solution for this,” said Nicole Pilutti, lead technologist, laboratory, at WRH.

In addition to this clinical trial, another is ongoing, seeing how helpful it is for out-patients to take a pulse oximeter home — they can measure their oxygen levels— so they’ll know right away when they need to get back to the hospital for more acute care.

“If and when the second wave comes, we are ready for them,” Dr. Hamm said. “This is hope, this is hope that we can save lives.”