New York Hospitals Are Calling For Blood Plasma Donations From Coronavirus Survivors

By Leia IdlibyMar 27th, 2020, 10:37 am

Karen Ducey/Getty Images

According to a New York Times report, hospitals in New York are calling for blood plasma donations from those who have recovered from Covid-19 in order to test if the antibodies can be used as a potential treatment for the virus.

The blood from survivors of the coronavirus can have high levels of antibodies, which could potentially attack the virus. This method has been used to treat other infectious diseases.

“It’s kind of difficult scientifically to know how valuable it is in any disease until you try,” Dr. David L. Reich, president and chief operating officer of the Mount Sinai Hospital told the Times. “It’s not exactly a shot in the dark, but it’s not tried and true.”

Mount Sinai will be testing the treatment, and the hospital has already called for blood plasma donors:

My friend works at Mount Sinai and is sharing this around. Help if you can.

— Rebecca Fishbein (@bfishbfish) March 26, 2020

According to Dr. Reich, an email sent asking for samples has already drawn 2,000 responses.

New York Blood Center will also be collecting and testing blood samples from donors:

.@NYBloodCenter is also doing it

— Rebecca Fishbein (@bfishbfish) March 26, 2020

“Our main focus is, how do we implement this quickly to help the hospitals get product to their patients,” Dr. Bruce Sachais, chief medical officer of the New York Blood Center told the Times. 

“We’re working with other blood centers and hospitals that may collect their own blood and want to do this. We may not be able to collect enough plasma in New York to help the entire country, so we want to share with other centers to help them.”

“Our expectation, based on reports from the Chinese experience, is that most people who get better have high-titer antibodies,” Dr. Sachais added. “Most patients who recover will have good antibodies in a month.”

Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch, however, has identified potential risks to the treatment. Patients’ immune systems could possibly react against something in the plasma, leading to additional illness.

Mount Sinai will only be testing the treatment on patients who had a moderate form of the coronavirus, and volunteers will be carefully screened to reduce any risks.

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