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Possible COVID-19 treatment in the works locally

Posted at 11:47 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 00:47:46-04

The Coastal Bend Blood Center will soon begin taking plasma from COVID-19 patients who've recovered from the virus, and giving it to critically ill patients in hopes of fighting the virus.

“The theory is that there’s antibodies in this plasma that could help people that are undergoing the virus currently,” said blood center president and CEO Corey Survant.

Corpus Christi Director of Public Health Annette Rodriguez said the city is working together with the blood center on this program that involves what's called "convalescent" plasma.

“Once (recovered coronavirus patients) start getting released, if they’re willing to do it, what I was told is that their serum could help four critically ill COVID-19 patients,” Rodriguez said.

The blood center is ready to start drawing plasma from recovered patients as early as this weekend. The recovered patients must be willing to participate and meet the guidelines that typical blood donors do.

Survant and Rodriguez aren't sure if the process will help COVID-19 patients fight the virus, but they are hopeful.

“It should actually help them get some antibodies into their system that should fight the COVID-19 disease and hopefully help them to get well," Rodriguez said.

“It’s been done in the past with different types of infections and viruses, and it has worked in some people," Survant said. "Now it’s still investigational, so we don’t know if it’s going to work for COVID-19. But since there’s no treatment -- there’s no approved treatment -- for COVID-19, this is the first step towards finding something that might work.”