Doctors try plasma infusions on coronavirus patients

Feb. 17, 2020

Health care officials in China reported this week that they are attempting to treat patients sick with the COVID-19 virus using blood plasma from patients who recovered. 

So far, the treatment has yielded encouraging early results — and officials at the WHO said it was a “very valid” approach to take — but it’s not fully clear how effective it will be in reversing the course of the virus. Plasma infusions, which deliver immune-boosting antibodies to the infected patient, have been successful in treating infectious diseases in the past.

Chinese doctors are also combatting the spread of COVID-19 with experimental antivirals such as remdesivir, which was developed by Gilead. AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson have also shipped HIV drugs to China for doctors to try on coronavirus patients.

A number of companies — including J&J, Novavax, Moderna and Inovio Pharmaceuticals — are also working at a break-neck speed to develop a vaccine, although it could be months before one would be ready for human trials and over a year before it’s approved.

Read the Reuters report.