Plasma therapy eyed in coronavirus fight

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KARE) –¬†Researchers around the world are looking at different ways to treat COVID-19 patients. One of those ways is through convalescent plasma therapy.

Patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood that can fight the virus. A donor’s plasma can then be transfused into a very sick COVID-19 patient who doesn’t have that immunity yet. 

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration named Mayo Clinic as the national site for the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program. The FDA anticipates through this effort they will be able to move thousands of units of plasma to patients who need it in the coming weeks.

“Our goal is to see if we can help people who are sick from going to the ICU and then help people who are in the ICU get out a little bit faster,” said Dr. Michael Joyner, who is leading the program. 

The therapy could also be used for those who are considered high risk, like healthcare workers, to offer some protection against the infection. The concept of using blood plasma from recovered patients to treat those who are sick isn’t new and dates back to the 1890s. 

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