Chinese docs use plasma from people recovered from coronavirus to treat those still battling the illness
Doctors in Shanghai are using infusions of blood plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus to treat those still battling the infection, reporting some encouraging preliminary results, a Chinese professor said on Monday.
A top emergency expert at the World Health Organization (WHO) said later that using convalescent plasma was a “very valid” approach to test, but that it was important to get the timing right to maximize the boost to a patient’s immunity.
The coronavirus epidemic is believed to have originated in a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, and has so far killed 1,770 people and infected more than 70,000 in mainland China.
China’s financial hub of Shanghai on Monday had 332 infected cases, one of whom died in recent weeks. Lu Hongzhou, professor and co-director of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre, said that 184 cases were still hospitalized, including 166 mild cases, while 18 were in serious and critical conditions.
He said the hospital had set up a special clinic to administer plasma therapy and was selecting patients who were willing to donate. The blood would be screened to check if he or she had other diseases like hepatitis B or C, he added.
“We are positive that this method can be very effective in our patients,” he said.
There are no fully licensed treatments or vaccines against the new coronavirus, and the process of developing and testing drugs can take many months and even years.
Very important area
Convalescent plasma has been proven “effective and life-saving” against other infectious diseases, including rabies and diphtheria, Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program, told reporters in Geneva.
“It is a very important area to pursue,” Ryan said.
“Because what hyperimmune globulin does is it concentrates the antibodies in a recovered patient. You are essentially giving the new victim’s immune system a boost of antibodies to hopefully get them through the very difficult phase.
“So it must be given at the right time, because it mops up the virus in the system, and it just gives the new patient’s immune system a vital push at the time it needs it. But it has to be carefully timed and it’s not always successful.”
Ryan added: “So it is a very important area of discovery, and I believe they are starting trials on that in China. But it is a very valid way to explore therapeutics, especially when we don’t have vaccines and we don’t have specific antivirals.”
As well as using plasma therapies, the Chinese doctors are also trying antiviral drugs licensed for use against other infections to see if they might help.
Scientists are testing two antiviral drugs and preliminary results are due in weeks, while the head of a Wuhan hospital had said plasma infusions from recovered patients had shown some encouraging preliminary results.
Updated Date: Feb 18, 2020 11:28:36 IST
Tags : Blood Plasma, Chinese Doctors, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Outbreak, Drugs For Coronavirus, Effects Of Coronavirus, Plasma From Recovered Patients To Treat Those Still Sick, Response Of WHO To Coronavirus, Treating Coronavirus, Vaccine For Coronavirus, WHO, World Health Organization
No community transmission of COVID-19 yet. Here's what stage 3 would mean for India
25,000 coronavirus deaths globally: Here's how the most vulnerable can stay safe
Why the Hantavirus is the least of your worries right now
What can we learn from the global response to the coronavirus pandemic?
How are we feeling? Mood of the nation in the time of coronavirus
World Oral Health Day: 5 oral hygiene routines you might think are healthy but can turn harmful
Man dies from hantavirus in China: All you need to know about the virus, and how it spreads
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: WHO warns against using 'untested drugs' to fight COVID-19; Gujarat, Puducherry announce lockdown
Coronavirus outbreak Updates: Italy records highest COVID-19 toll in one day with 627 deaths; 'you are not invincible', WHO tells youth
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Andhra Pradesh reports sixth positive case; Jharkhand announces lockdown with immediate effect
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Bihar govt says six of nine COVID-19 cases in state have no travel history
Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: NPR to be deferred amid COVID-19 lockdown, say reports; positive cases rise to 536 in India