Survivors of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, are now massively donating their blood plasma in hopes it would help infected people recover from the virus, according to a new report.
Some Chinese medical experts had earlier suggested that severely ill COVID-19 patients could benefit from infusions of plasma, a light yellow blood component, collected from people who have recovered.
But, according to AP, scientists are now testing if the donations might also prevent the infection in the first place as thousands of patients have been treated with the so-called convalescent plasma.
It was gathered that over 20,000 person in the United States have benefited from the treatment — with little solid evidence so far that it makes a difference.
Shmuel Shoham, a doctor at Johns Hopkins University, who launched a national study, however, believes “we have glimmers of hope.”
The doctor has embarked on research to know if “giving survivors plasma right after a high-risk exposure to the virus stave off illness.”
To arrive at this finding, his team at Hopkins and 15 other sites will recruit health workers, spouses of the sick, and residents of nursing homes where someone just fell ill and “they’re trying to nip it in the bud,” Shoham said.
It is understood that 150 volunteers will be assigned to get either plasma from COVID-19 survivors (that contains antibodies) or regular hospital plasma that had been frozen long before the pandemic.
Shoham will track differences in who gets sick for a collaborative study that “could have important ramifications” on protecting high-risk people through an immune-boost ahead of vaccine discovery.
“They’re a paramedic, they’re a police officer, they’re a poultry industry worker, they’re a submarine naval officer. Can we blanket protect them?,” he asked in a question his team looks to answer.
Amid efforts to manage the crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has so far killed nearly 425,000 worldwide with 7.7 million cases, according to worldometer.
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