Critically ill Massachusetts coronavirus patient dramatically improves after plasma treatment
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Doctors at a Massachusetts hospital are crediting an experimental blood plasma treatment for improving the condition of a gravely ill COVID-19 patient.
The patient’s vital signs were quickly turning south at UMass Memorial Health Care last Saturday, according to a local news outlet. The patient was nearing maximal settings on the ventilator in order to stay alive, Dr. Jonathan Gerber told WCVB 5 ABC .
UMass Memorial Health Care recently received its first unit of blood plasma donated by a recovered coronavirus patient. Doctors went to work right away transfusing the plasma into their critically ill patient.
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According to the outlet, doctors were amazed when they saw the patient’s condition improve within just a few hours.
Plasma from recovered COVID-19 cases is transfused to critically ill COVID-19 patients, with the hope that the antibodies will help the patient fight or neutralize the disease. The Red Cross said that as of April 20, it had delivered over 120 convalescent plasma products to hospitals.
The FDA is facilitating access to the COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with serious or immediately life-threatening infections.
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"Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggest that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19," according to an FDA statement from April 16.
Dr. Justin Maykel, UMass Memorial surgeon, donated his plasma after recovering from COVID-19 last month.
"I think it probably is our best hope," Maykel told WCVB 5 ABC. "When I signed up, I never thought I'd be donating my plasma. I thought I'd be using my surgical skills to help people, but it's really not a surgeon or a doctor thing. It's really just about being another member of our community."
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An insufficient plasma supply at the hospital may result in difficult decisions as doctors treat the most dire cases first. the American Red Cross.