Blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors under study as potential cure

Marje Pelayo   •   March 26, 2020   •   566

MANILA, Philippines – Countries are racing against time to find a cure for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the number of infected patients soars worldwide.

As of today, there is still no known cure for COVID-19.

Scientists from various countries are studying the possibility of using a COVID-19 survivor’s blood to treat other coronavirus patients.

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) just recently authorized an experimental procedure which injects the plasma of people who overcame the virus into current patients in hopes of obtaining positive results.

“The FDA also authorized an experimental procedure by the New York State Department of Health, where we, the Department of Health, actually takes plasma from people who are infected, who have the antibodies, and we’ll try putting that plasma into a person who is still struggling with the disease, hoping that the antibodies make a difference,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

New York City in the US is facing an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases with more than 580 deaths and more than 45,000 positive cases.

The procedure, called “convalescent plasma transfusion”, extracts blood plasma from survivors of the coronavirus disease and infuses it to currently COVID-19 positive patients.

The similar procedure was used during the H1N1 influenza, also known as “Spanish flu”, outbreak in 1918 which caused the death of 50 million to 100 million people; measles, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

These diseases are caused by virulent viruses.

In China, a group of doctors just recently tested this kind of treatment on 10 COVID-19 positive patients.

They noticed the rapid increase of patients’ antibodies and in just a weeks’ time, the virus became undetected among 7 patients.

They are now planning to do the same with a larger number of patients.

But the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says a lot of study must be done before such method is adopted locally.

Authorities said it would take a year or more to prove the effectiveness of vaccines being developed against COVID-19. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


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