San Diego County health officials are looking to treat COVID-19 patients with antibodies taken from the blood of people who have recovered from the disease, a method that, although not yet proven, has shown hope, according to the district’s chief medical officer.
Dr Nick Yphantides said the county was “enthusiastic and aggressive” seeing putting the system in place to secure recovery plasma – the liquid part of blood collected from patients who had recovered from infection.
According to a national research project led by immunologist John Hopkins Arturo Casadevall, recovering patient’s blood can develop antibodies that can help those who are in urgent need of treatment. Casadevall said the treatment would be a temporary measure that could help until the vaccine was available.
Yphantides said there was “some evidence from around the world” that the treatment might be effective.
Food and Drug Administration has have not yet approved the use of plasma convalescence but on Wednesday provides new guidelines for jurisdictions who want to study “promising” treatment options.
The San Diego Blood Bank has already taken steps to collect blood plasma which can be donated to hospitals when the time comes. The blood bank said they received requests from “basically all the hospitals we serve.”
Agency is looking for people who have been confirmed positive by laboratory tests and have been symptom free for at least 28 days or for people who have been confirmed negative by a second test for at least 14 days. Even those who have not been tested, who want to donate plasma, must Listsaid the blood bank.
“At the end of the road, we will most likely have tests that will show antibodies. Once confirmed, they can contribute. We are building our list of potential donors at this time because we believe the demand for recovered plasma will be high,” the agency said in a statement. written statement for NBC 7.
The method of using antibodies from blood plasma is not new. The concept dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and has been successfully used against mumps and measles, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The FDA said this method was also tested in other outbreaks including the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2010 H1N1 outbreak.
Based on NBC News, treatment is not without risk. There is a danger in giving patients the wrong blood type or inadvertently transmitting other pathogens in a transfusion, but increased safety over the past two decades has made adverse results rare.