Plasma therapy envisaged for treatment with COVID-19

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COLORADO, United States – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States last week granted emergency authorization to physicians to begin using plasma therapy to treat patients with COVID-19.

“It’s actually a treatment that has been around since 1890, and it’s one of the pillars of the therapies we used when we didn’t have antibiotics and antivirals,” said the 9Health expert, Dr. Payal Kohli.

“It is a way of giving someone else an immune response to help them fight the infection,” said Kohli.

Kohli said there is limited clinical data on the effectiveness of plasma therapy in the treatment of COVID-19. She said the current data comes from a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“It’s a small study,” said Kohli. “So only five patients, all seriously ill, and all of them also received other additional therapies [besides plasma therapy], but luckily they all got better in about a week. “

The idea is promising enough that some potential donors have already contacted Vitalant.

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A Vitalant spokesperson told 9NEWS that the nonprofit is working with hospital partners to find qualified donors and will begin collecting convalescent plasma this month.

“It could be something that we will end up doing in a few months where we actually go to the population level and collect plasma like we collect blood to fight this infection, especially if we don’t have any other effective therapies by then, “said Kohli.

The FDA currently allows access to convalescent plasma COVID-19 only to patients with serious or life-threatening infections.

Kohli said that widespread COVID-19 testing should be done to target the largest number of plasma donors. Many of those recovering from the disease will never show symptoms, and only tests could show if they have antibodies.

“It is certainly not something we want to deploy without studying a little further, but when someone is seriously ill and you run out of options, I think it is a very promising potential therapy,” a said Kohli.

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