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Plasma transfusions used to help those critically ill from COVID-19

It's not a new concept - but it is new in treating the novel coronavirus.

As the global pandemic continues to take lives, the FDA has approved nationwide trials to treat COVID-19, including plasma therapy. 

It's a technique that was used to treat patients with SARS, H1N1, Ebola and now the novel coronavirus. 

The treatment is done by transfusing plasma from patients who have recovered from the virus into patients who are critically ill.

"It is the people on ventilators whose lungs are so severely affected that it could kill them while their body is fighting the infection, who are going to benefit from the antibody to help them fight the infection and get them off that ventilator," 11Alive Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sujatha Reddy said. 

It's already being done for some patients in hard-hit New York City. 

When one hospital called for volunteers, 10,000 people came in to help those in critical need. One of the first who came forward was Danny Reimer. 

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia: Confirmed cases climb to 7,314 with 229 deaths

"As soon as we were released from quarantine, the first place we went was Mount Sinai (Hospital)," Reimer said. "And to qualify for -- for the donation program, you simply need to have a blood test and -- demonstrate that your antibody numbers are high. And you have to have a negative swab." 

Each donor provides the equivalent of four doses of plasma. The sickest patients receive two. 

So far, 11 patients have received the plasma. They will be evaluated for the next couple of weeks to see if it helps.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 


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