A young COVID-19 patient at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is recovering after receiving donated plasma, marking a possible breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts say those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. Now there's a nationwide effort to collect blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to assist in treating those currently ill with the disease or perhaps prevent others, like front-line medical workers, from getting the virus at all.
CHOP announced they successfully treated their first pediatric COVID-19 treatment with donated plasma.
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“It was kind of remarkable when we had a patient who we wanted to treat that everybody mobilized and did the whole process very quickly,” Dr. David Teachey, a Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist at CHOP, told NBC10.
“The FDA is also working around the clock to help doctors and hospitals and patients get this therapy.”
Dr. Teachey played a critical role in the treatment for the child.
“So it took us from start to finish from when we said we wanted to use it to it actually being in the patient around 40 hours,” Dr Teachey said.
The treatment is still in an experimental stage and doctors could not say conclusively that it was the primary reason for the child’s recovery. Dr. Teachey still believes the results are encouraging however.
“This is an experimental therapy and you really need to treat a lot of people with it in a well-designed manner to know if it actually is a benefit,” Dr. Teachey said. “We’re cautiously optimistic it’s going to help people.”
Charles “Chuck” Deich, who has worked as an information Support Analyst at CHOP for 24 years, is optimistic as well. After testing positive for COVID-19 and recovering, he volunteered to donate plasma in order to help other COVID-19 patients.
“It can save somebody you love and can save somebody you don’t even know and there’s no difference,” Deich said. “You have to do what you can do to try to help.”
Other recovered staffers at CHOP are signing up to donate plasma. The process is being coordinated by the American Red Cross. If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, are at least 17 years of age and in good health, then CLICK HERE to learn more about the donation process.