Blood sample shortages slowing development of coronavirus treatments

Maia Anderson - Print  | 

Scientists working to develop drugs to treat COVID-19 are struggling to get the blood samples they need to develop treatments, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Scientists are hoping to develop an antibody treatment against the disease caused by the new coronavirus because it could be developed much quicker than a chemical-based drug.  An antibody could be ready for human use in six months in a best-case scenario, experts told the Journal

To make an antibody treatment, scientists need blood samples from people who have had COVID-19 and recovered from it, so they can extract the antibodies from the blood. 

Getting those blood samples has proven to be a challenge for several reasons, according to the Journal

For one, it is hard to transport blood samples across international borders during a pandemic. Healthcare systems also are already overwhelmed by caring for patients and are less focused on obtaining blood samples. Also, it could take four to eight weeks for patients to fully recover to the point where their blood would be helpful for scientists. 

The supply of useful blood should increase in the coming weeks, experts told the Journal, since the virus has spread to more people in the country. For now, they told the Journal blood samples are being "treated like gold." 

Read the full article here

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