Research into new COVID-19 treatment at OSU

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Doctors at the Ohio State University have begun collecting plasma from COVID-19 survivors and transferring that to people battling the disease. Researchers say this method has been used before, even for treating other strains of the coronavirus in the past.

The potential treatment is running through the veins of those who have beat COVID-19.

Dr. Sonal Pannu is a leading plasma researcher at Ohio State University. She tells 13abc, “For people who’ve had the Coronavirus and are getting better, they develop antibodies against the virus. These can then help other people who are very, very sick from the virus.”

Dr. Pannu says this isn’t the first time doctors have turned to plasma for a cure. In 2003, doctors used antibodies in plasma to treat SARS in China, after a different strain of coronavirus broke out. She explains, “There’s no treatment that we know of that directly cures the Coronavirus disease. So, we are using all the best treatments that we think of.”

Researchers are not only thinking quickly, but working quickly. In fact, the first patient at OSU to receive plasma did so on Monday. The second, on Tuesday. Dr Pannu says, “It’s a work in progress. We need to know more, and we study as we do. We need to know what level of antibodies are best to help people.”
And the Food and Drug Administration is allowing researchers to do what they need to do to get that life-saving research as quickly as possible. Dr. Pannu explains, “With the possibility that it may help patients who are in life-threatening disease right now, without any other treatments available, the FDA has approved this to be used under certain circumstances.”

Dr. Pannu says that blood transfusions are something that many healthcare workers are already used to doing, so once the treatment is better understood and refined, they can integrate it quickly.

If you or someone you know has recovered from the coronavirus and would like to help with this treatment, you can visit this website. In order to be able to donate plasma, you must either test negative for the virus after an initial diagnosis, or you must be 28 days outside of symptoms.

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