UConn Health Using Plasma Transfusions To Treat COVID-19 Patients

Using methods developed by the Mayo Clinic, UConn Health officials are hopeful antibodies developed by recovered patients could help others survive.

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While the numbers of COVID-19 patients continue to climb, there are many patients who have recovered. It’s those patients, that UConn Health thinks might hold the key to treating those who are currently suffering.

With no definitive treatment for COVID-19 UConn Health, has launched a program it thinks can help save lives. This, by using a treatment that infuses infected patients with antibodies developed by people who have recovered from the virus.

“It’s not something that’s new or groundbreaking but it is something that has the possibility of being effective when the options are very limited,” said Dr. Lisa Chirch of the UConn Health Center.

Using protocol developed by the Mayo Clinic, blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients will be collected by the American Red Cross. It will be processed, then turned over to UConnHealth where it will be administered to patients.

“There’s no vaccines and no effective treatment and so this is something that is able to be utilized when we really don’t have anything else,” added Chirch.

UConn Health employees who are recovering from the virus have been asked to donate blood to the Red Cross for processing. Mellissa Peck will be the first to participate as a donor.

“I was very excited to do it considering the number of people who are suffering,” said Peck.

After returning from a trip to New York in March, Peck said she developed what she thought was a sinus infection but turned out to be worse.

“I ended up getting a fever and the chills and the aches and a little bit of the GI issue and it just seemed to be not going away,” Peck said.

Now fully recovered, Peck explains she’s ready to do her part to help save someone else’s life.

“It feels like what we should be doing as human beings,” she said, “helping each other out.”

According to Chirch, this process has been used in China with promising results, although there is limited data so far.

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