NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may now be able to help others who are infected.
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has more on convalescent plasma in his latest Max Minute.
As the pandemic endures and continues to spread across the U.S. and the world, an urgent search continues for a safe and effective treatment for the millions who have been infected with the SARS-COVID-2 virus. One such candidate is convalescent plasma.
That’s plasma taken from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients. It contains what doctors call neutralizing antibodies, antibodies that can attach to the coronavirus and prevent it from infecting human cells.
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Now, a new pre-print study, that’s one that has yet to be peer reviewed, from Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, finds that patients who received convalescent plasma high in neutralizing antibodies were more likely than control patients to survive and less likely to need additional oxygen.
While this is an encouraging treatment development, there are some limitations in turning convalescent plasma into a large scale therapy. Yes, there are many thousands of recovered COVID-19 patients, but they would have to volunteer to donate their plasma, and they would have to be thoroughly screened to ensure they’re not carrying some other infectious disease such as hepatitis or HIV. Plus, the patient and donor must be the same blood type.
A more likely usefulness for these antibodies would be to clone them and then manufacture them in large, pure, non-blood-type quantities in the lab, something that is already done for a number of antibodies that have been converted into drugs.