As the death toll from the Coronavirus in the United States hit 10,000 according to data from John Hopkins University, the US food and drug administration (FDA) is proffering an alternative treatment: the transfusion of plasma from recovered patients to COVID-19 patients.
The US FDA which announced the “expanded access” programme on Friday believes that patients who have recovered from Coronavirus have developed antibodies in their blood known as “convalescent plasma”, which may help to boost the immunity of COVID-19 patients. It, therefore, intends to collect plasma donations and distribute to patients Nationwide through the American Red Cross.
It is believed that one donation could generate four units of plasma that could possibly help four Coronavirus patients. Convalescent plasma treatment was used to fight the 1918 flu.
Experts have however expressed their misgivings on the procedure,
“…If you use the plasma in the later stages of the infection, the chances for survival will be relatively less. You have to apply the plasma in the earliest stages of the infection, when the proportion of the virus is relatively less and equate with the level of antibodies in the plasma… acquiring enough plasma to meet the demand of people is a major challenge too….” UK based virologist, Muhammad Munir told Al Jazeera.
Following his recovery from the coronavirus, Florida based Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez became the first person in the state of Florida to participate in this experimental treatment on Friday.