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Blood Plasma From Survivors Will Be Given to Coronavirus Patients

Zheng Yongheng, a recovered coronavirus patient, donated plasma at a mobile hospital in Wuhan earlier this month.

A potential risk, he...

A potential risk, he said, is that the patient’s immune system could react against something in the plasma, and cause additional illness.

Although hospitals will gather information about the patients being treated, the procedure is not being done as part of a clinical trial. There will not be a placebo group or the other measures needed to determine whether a treatment works.

“People are so desperately ill now, it isn’t the right time,” Dr. Reich said. “They’re in the hospital, they’re sick, in intensive care, on ventilators. Some get sick so quickly, and it’s such a severe illness in some people, we feel it’s not the right moment.”

He said the doctors were relying on science and evidence as much as possible.

But he added: “You see this steamroller coming at you, and you don’t want to sit there passively and let it roll over you. So you put together everything you have to try to fight it. This has the potential to help and also the potential to harm, but we just won’t know until it’s later in the process of the disease and people have had an opportunity to try different things.”

Survivors seem eager to help.

“We’re getting a lot of requests,” Dr. Sachais said. “One center sent a survey to patients who are getting better, and there were hundreds of responses saying they were interested in being donors. This is going to bring people together. People who’ve survived will want to do something for their fellow New Yorkers.”

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2020-07-07

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