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Doctors in Philadelphia voiced cautious optimism in coronavirus plasma transfusion therapy after a young COVID-19 patient successfully recovered.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced the successful treatment, although doctors cannot definitively say the plasma treatment was the sole reason behind recovery, according to a news outlet. The treatment is still in an experimental stage.
“It was kind of remarkable when we had a patient who we wanted to treat that everybody mobilized and did the whole process very quickly,” Dr. David Teachey, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at CHOP, told NBC10. It took roughly 40 hours from when the doctors first floated the treatment idea to the pediatric patient receiving the plasma therapy, he added.
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.
"This initiative is still new and the Red Cross along with our industry partners are working around-the-clock to identify, qualify and collect more convalescent plasma donations to meet urgent patient needs in this rapidly changing environment," the Red Cross said in a statement. "We expect to significantly increase collections in the coming days and weeks."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is facilitating access to the COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with serious or immediately life-threatening infections. Dr. Eduardo Oliveira, critical care specialist and pulmonologist at AdventHealth, a nonprofit health care system based in Florida, previously told Fox News that the approach has had “some degree of success” in COVID-19 patients in China. As of April 15, five AdventHealth patients had received plasma therapy, he said.
Charles Deich, a longtime CHOP information support analyst, also voiced optimism in the treatment and volunteered to donate plasma after recovering from the novel virus himself.
“It can save somebody you love and can save somebody you don’t even know and there’s no difference,” Deich said. “You have to do what you can do to try to help.”
According to NBC10, other recovered CHOP staff members have pledged to donate plasma, a process coordinated by the American Red Cross. Those interested in donating plasma must have fully recovered from COVID-19, stand in good health and be at least 17 years old. You can find the American Red Cross plasma donation page here.
A spokesperson for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment on Tuesday.