The Race to Save Lives From Coronavirus, Doctors Turn to Plasma

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There's another potential treatment in the race to save lives from the new coronavirus... taking plasma, rich with antibodies, from patients who have fully recovered and transfusing it into patients fighting for their lives.

The federal government is now allowing doctors to take blood plasma from survivors and use it on the most critically ill patients.

It's an experimental treatment that has been used on at least one Fort Worth patient.

"This is a short term interim to offer a potential treatment to a patient who has not improved on other known treatments and supportive care," said Fort Worth pulmonologist Dr. John Burk.

He's one of the first doctors in North Texas to receive FDA approval for a plasma transfusion on a critically ill patient.

His patient is a 42-year-old man who is hospitalized at Texas Health Harris and is now relying on a ventilator to help him breathe.

He received a transfusion this past Sunday and Monday. Dr. Burk said the progression of the illness has stopped in his patient.

Plasma therapy proved to be a successful treatment during the SARS and Ebola crisis, which is why medical experts are hopeful it may work now too.

Hospital trials are already ramping up which means the call is out for donors.

"It is an absolutely special opportunity for those who have survived COVID-19 infection to give to their community," said Burk.

To donate, you have to have tested positive for COVID-19, fully recovered and tested negative.

You're directed to then contact your doctor to become an eligible candidate.

The treatment is only FDA-approved as a last resort for patients who aren't responding to other treatments.

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