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Mayo Clinic continues COVID-19 plasma treatment research

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- We're getting a deeper look at research spearheaded by Mayo Clinic into a possible coronavirus cure.

The treatment, using what's called "convalescent plasma," has been effective against other pandemics in the past, but isn't yet proven to consistently work against COVID-19.

"Convalescent plasma is an age old therapy used for the last 100 or so years during outbreaks of infectious diseases," said Dr. Scott Wright, a Clinical Researcher at Mayo Clinic.

And it's hoped it can help treat COVID-19 patients.

"Part of the immune response is to create antibodies which attach and kill the infecting pathogen, in this case a virus," said Dr. Wright. "And once you've been infected, those antibodies stay up at high levels for a few weeks to a couple of months to protect you in case you require the virus or infection on a short term basis. That's the theory or the hope with convalescent plasma is that adding someone else's immune antibodies will help kill off the virus and stop the infection quicker and give your body a chance to recover more quickly with less damage or less of a more severe infection."

The plasma, which is taken from people who've been recovered for at least three weeks, is stored in blood banks and then distributed to patients matched by blood type.

"There has been an exponential growth in number of patients begin treated and number of units of plasma available in the last five days," said Dr. Wright. "So as of [Monday] morning, we had 750 patients who had received plasma out of 2,300 who have agreed to receive it and signed consent forms that have said we want it when it's available."

1,663 facilities around the country are participating in the study. Dr. Wright is hopeful we can see positive, proven results by this fall.

"We all feel a sense of panic and a need to do something," said Dr. Wright. "If you've had COVID and recovered, please consider donating plasma because it may help your friends, your neighbors, it may help someone across the country."

If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in donating your plasma, you can find your nearest donation center and other information about donating plasma by clicking here.

Sarah Gannon

Sarah Gannon

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