Doctor explains how plasma can help coronavirus patients

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 6:02 PM EDT
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(4/24/2020) - “I'm much better. All the respiratory stuff is gone,” Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha explained. “I still cannot smell or taste, which is bizarre. It's now kind of over a month, which is really weird. I just hope it comes back, but knock on wood, I'm, I'm lucky I had a mild course.”

Dr. Hanna-Attisha said three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, she took another test this week and the results show she's negative.

The Flint pediatrician is now in the process of helping her fellow patients who are having a tougher time fighting it off by donating her plasma.

“There is no medicine that works for this virus. However, something that is being used is something called convalescent plasma; and it is a century old treatment, where they take antibodies from folks who have recovered, and they give those antibodies to people who are still fighting this disease,” she explained.

This same response is happening across the country.

Michigan State University is actually leading one of the projects she said the American Red Cross is facilitating.

“You have to be kind of symptom free for a couple weeks; and then, they match your blood type with folks who are admitted in the hospital and are critically ill,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha said.

She added there's been an overwhelming response from recovered patients, so the Red Cross is experiencing a bottleneck right now.

And, she said, Hurley Medical Center has had a waitlist of patients wanting to try the new treatment.

“Everybody has an opportunity to help those who are in need; and that, you know for me, being able to donate my plasma is a super tiny thing that I'm able to do right now,” she said.

For others the Flint pediatrician said, you can play your part by staying home.

“If you can; and we know that a lot of folks can't, because they're part of this critical infrastructure that is continuing to keep our cities alive and functioning. Limit your contacts, wear a mask, take care of yourself,” she said.