New York ready to test COVID-19 treatment made from blood of recovered patients

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New York plans to test the use "convalescent serum" — the blood serum of recovered COVID-19 patients — to treat patients infected with the virus, according to NBC News.

In a news briefing March 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that state health officials will begin collecting blood serum or plasma from recovered patients, and they hope to have FDA approval to conduct a clinical trial of the treatment in the next few days.

The treatment is not new and was used to combat viral disease epidemics in in the early 20th century, including measles, mumps and influenzas, researchers say. The plasma from recovered patients can be screened for virus-neutralizing antibodies and injected into high-risk patients that still have the disease. The researchers made the case for using the treatment in the current pandemic as well.

"There have been tests that show when a person is injected with the antibodies, that then stimulates and promotes their immune system against that disease," Mr. Cuomo said at the March 23 briefing. " It's only a trial. It's a trial for people who are in serious condition, but the New York State Department of Health has been working on this with some of New York's best healthcare agencies, and we think it shows promise, and we're going to be starting that this week."

Health officials will begin to recruit trial patients and potential plasma donors, who will undergo tests to make sure the infection has completely left their systems and their plasma has the necessary antibodies.

If the treatment is successful among severely ill patients, it may be given to patients with more moderate cases, as experts say it will work best when given to patients before they develop severe symptoms, NBC News reports.


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