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Local doctors are leading the way in the fight against COVID-19, helping patients using a component of recovered patients' blood called plasma.
Similar therapy has been used to treat diseases like polio and measles in the past. Now, Dr. Dean Kereiakes with Christ Hospital says plasma from those who've already recovered from the virus could hold the key to effective treatment.
“There are very few things you can use to treat it. There are a couple of investigational anti-viral drugs,” Kereiakes told WCPO.
But the antibodies in the plasma of those who have recovered could be a game-changer for patients still fighting coronavirus. The study just got FDA approval, and it could help U.S. patients soon.
“You had to be positive," he said. "You didn’t think you had the disease. You were told you had the disease.”
Kereiakes is Christ's primary investigator of convalescent plasma protocol. He says you must be symptom-free for 28 days before you can donate plasma to be given to patients before they have to be intubated, which gives them a better chance of survival.
“These patients don’t have enough antibodies in the time course to fight off the infection, so that’s where we come in.”
Ohio's Lt. Gov. Jon Husted recently announced FDA approval for the clinical trial.
“We know this is going to save lives," Husted said. "These are not statistics. These are real people who have families and who will have more hope now.”
It's providing some hope while the world waits for a vaccine.
“You have the opportunity to help somebody else live," Kerieakes said.
Kerieakes hopes to see plasma drives at hospitals across Greater Cincinnati soon.
“We’ll try to orchestrate this whole thing. I’m hoping we can have plasma and start to treat patients hopefully by the end of next week.”
If you have recovered from COVID-19 and would like to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.