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New York to Become First State to Treat COVID-19 With Plasma From Recovered Patients

“It has a high likelihood of working but we won’t know whether it works until it’s done.”



COVID-19 Plasma

(TMU) — On Monday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to use plasma from people who have recovered from CoViD-19 to treat those currently suffering from the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

On Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure that involves taking plasma full of antibodies from recovered patients and injecting in into current patients afflicted by the virus. The process called convalescent plasma has reportedly been used with success in China and is nothing new. In fact it was used during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 that saw 500 million people infected and 50 million deaths globally. Antiviral drugs and vaccines were both available at the time.

According to, the state of New York had just over 30,000 confirmed cases as of Wednesday night. The map managed by Johns Hopkins University reports 280 deaths in New York City alone.

New York has seen a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in recent days, with about 20,000 confirmed cases and more than 150 deaths as of Monday afternoon, more than in any other state.

The New York Blood Center is now collecting the very first blood plasma donations from patients who have recovered from CoViD-19. Recovered patients will be recruited from New Rochelle where the first cluster of the novel coronavirus was found in the state of New York.

During the Monday press conference, Cuomo said:

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. 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 health care agencies, and we think it shows promise, and we’re going to be starting that this week.”

Dr. Arturo Casadevall, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called the development a “big step,” adding, “It has a high likelihood of working but we won’t know whether it works until it’s done.”

New York also plans to test blood to look for antibodies, and thus potential immunity, to the novel coronavirus. Cuomo said, “That would be very important for us to know because then healthcare workers that could go back to work, there are workers that could return back to the private sector.”
The New York State Department of Health also has plans to test the use of the anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine along with the antibiotic Azithromycin. Some doctors in New York are also administering large doses of Vitamin C in conjunction with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin.
Of the plasma treatment, Casadevall said the biggest challenge is the logistics:
You’ve got to find the people, you’ve got to test them, identify the right donors, donate plasma and get it to the people who need it. That involves logistics but it’s all doable we’re not talking about rocket science.
Casadevall has created a website with more information.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons |

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