Survivors of COVID-19 Are a Beacon of Hope
These last few weeks, we’ve been bombarded with grim updates about the spread of COVID-19 across our country.
Although the numbers are constantly changing, the latest statistics from John Hopkins University reports more than 496,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The interactive report also shows more than 18,500 COVID-19-related deaths in America.
With these numbers, it’s hard not to focus on the devastating effects of this pandemic. However, in the last weeks, we’ve also seen positive signs and small victories across the world.
Patients are starting to recover. In the US alone, close to 29,000 patients have beaten the virus, and are now able to help other critically ill patients recover.
Coronavirus survivors’ blood plasma found to help critically ill patients
Researchers have found evidence that seriously ill coronavirus patients may benefit from infusions of blood plasma rich with antibodies collected from patients who have recovered from the disease.
This therapy is not new. It was used more than a century ago during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Today, doctors in China and other parts of the world are using the therapy to help those worst affected, beat the virus.
Although there are no controlled clinical studies, preliminary findings raise hope that convalescent plasma transfusion can be helpful in the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients as well as those with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
Convalescent plasma treatments work on the premise that individuals who recently recovered from a viral infection develop antibodies. These antibodies remain in their blood for the rest of their lives where they can spring into action, rapidly detecting and destroying the virus, should it ever attack again.
Therefore, researchers and health care providers on the frontline of the epidemic hope that donated blood from patients who have recently recovered from the disease can be infused into critically ill patients to help boost their immune systems and help them beat the disease.
Developing a vaccine or antiviral drug that can mitigate the effects of the virus can take months or years to develop. However, one key advantage of convalescent plasma infusion treatments is its immediate availability.
Antibody rich plasma infusions seem to be relatively safe as long as the donated blood is free of viruses and other infectious agents.
Are You a COVID-19 Survivor? Here is How You Can Help Save Lives
If you are among those to have recovered from the the novel coronavirus, you can can help those patients currently fighting for their lives.
Hospitals in the hardest-hit areas are scrambling to find donors, and you can help them. The AABB (formerly known as The American Association of Blood Banks) and the Red Cross both have webpages to help COVID-19 survivors find where to donate blood.
The US Food and Drug Administration states that donors must be fully recovered and should wait a minimum of 14 days after symptoms to donate.
At Altus Infusion, we see every day how infusion therapies help improve the lives of chronically ill patients and are excited to see how convalescent plasma treatments could help lower the mortality rate of this devastating pandemic.
We urge the population to follow federal and state healthcare guidelines and social distancing so that together we can help flatten the curve and save lives.
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