As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to soar, the pressure is on to find effective ways to treat those who are very sick.
One of the latest options involves using plasma from patients who have already recovered from coronavirus to give to patients still battling the virus.
It's an experimental treatment that the Food and Drug Administration has given emergency permission to use with patients who are critically ill with the coronavirus.
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Florida-based OneBlood will soon be collecting plasma from recovered patients in the state.
"Right now, we’re moving very quickly to put the additional processes in place that the FDA is requiring and then we are also working very closely with the Florida Department of Health to begin to identify people who have recovered from coronavirus who could be potential donors," said Susan Forbes, senior vice president of communications.
Here are some of the requirements you’d have to meet to be a potential donor:
- You have been previously diagnosed with COVID-19
- Your symptoms have been gone for at least 14 days before the donations
- You must now have a negative result for COVID-19
- You must meet all the other requirements neccessary to give blood.
"In the lab, we're going to see if that person's plasma has really good effective antibodies, and if it does, we're going to take a whole bunch of that person's plasma and use it to help somebody else," said Aileen Marty, an infectious disease professor at Florida International University.
Marty says this technique — using convalescent plasma — is not new, and is a well-known way of helping people with a particular infection until a better treatment is available.
"Absolutely this is something that can help contribute to the recovery of patients until we have something better," Marty said.
Marty says this is certainly not an option for someone with a mild case of coronavirus. There are risks of transmitting other infectious diseases.