San Diego Community News Group
Scripps Treating COVID-19 Patients with Experimental Convalescent Plasma Therapy
Scripps Health recently became the first healthcare provider in San Diego County to use experimental therapy as a possible treatment for COVID-19 patients. Treatment involves taking plasma donated by a person who has recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing it to an inpatient who is currently battling a serious COVID-19 infection.
The idea behind the treatment – known as convalescent plasma therapy – is that people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus when transfused into patients with the disease. serious and active illness.
On April 22, Encinitas resident Robert Riordan attended the Scripps Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Scripps Green Hospital to donate plasma. Riordan was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 19 after a ski trip to Colorado. He has not shown any symptoms since March 27. Riordan is the second person to come to Scripps to donate convalescent plasma, which will be transfused to a patient being treated in the Scripps Green intensive care unit. The first collection and transfusion of convalescent plasma took place in Scripps Green with a different donor and patient on April 1.
While the therapy is still experimental, the United States Food and Drug Administration on March 24 authorized doctors to use the plasma of recovered patients to treat people with “serious or immediately life-threatening infections” in. as part of an emergency approval system. Doctors can ask the FDA to use it for their patients, and the agency will review the requests quickly and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The first convalescent plasma treatments in the United States for COVID-19 were performed in late March in New York and Texas, and other centers across the country are now adopting the therapy. Doctors and researchers will closely monitor progress as they know it will take time to determine how well convalescent plasma is working against COVID-19.
Research published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Society described convalescent plasma treatment given to five critically ill COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Shenzhen, China. Patients have recovered to varying degrees after their treatments, and although the study is small and observational only, it raises the possibility that convalescent plasma therapy may be useful in treating this patient population. .
The strategy of transfusing convalescent plasma has been used in the past to treat viral outbreaks of polio, measles and mumps before a vaccine is available. More recently, it has been used with some effectiveness to treat patients with SARS and Ebola. During an evolving pandemic like COVID-19, plasma-based treatments can be a critical stopgap during the development of therapies and vaccines.
Plasma is the almost transparent liquid that remains after the removal of red and white blood cells and platelets from the blood.
For more information on donating convalescent plasma, call 858-554-4340.