Survivors’ Plasma Still OK for Treating COVID-19

“Antibodies derived from people who have recovered from the coronavirus are found in a part of their blood called plasma,” Shoham explained. “We now have procedures to obtain it, package it, and share it with other people through established blood bank procedures. Treatment with these antibodies is called passive immunization,” he said. he declares.

“Passive vaccination gives the body an immediate supply of potentially protective antibodies, and we believe the greatest effects will be when they are given early at a time when the viral load and infection are declining,” Shoham said.

Shoham is involved in two clinical trials of convalescent plasma, one aimed at preventing infection in people newly exposed to COVID-19 and the other in people who have a case mild enough not to require treatment. hospitalization.

Meanwhile, Pirofski is involved in a trial examining the potential benefits of convalescent plasma for very ill hospital patients.

The three trials are moving slowly, as they compete with other trials for COVID-19 patients, experts said.

Most people with COVID-19 do not come to hospitals for treatment, and most do not come for treatment at teaching hospitals that conduct coronavirus trials, Shoham noted.

Experts couldn’t say if the FDA clearance would further cripple their trial progress, although Pirofski allowed it.

“We need help,” Shoham said. “The volunteers who join the study are the only way we know if this stuff works for prevention and treatment.”

The technology now exists to make this treatment readily available and widespread, the experts said.

For example, Pirofski noted that his research was based on an Orthodox Jewish community in New Rochelle, New York, which was hit hard by the virus. Its members turned around and donated tens of thousands of units of convalescent plasma to help others.

“In Maryland, I believe there were several hundred new cases of coronavirus that occurred yesterday,” Shoham added. “In 14 days, these can donate blood and they can donate it multiple times. This can then be expanded across the country. I think with the organization there is a lot of plasma that can be available. . “

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Jothi Venkat

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