How (does) it work? The simple explanation is that patients who recover from an infectious disease often produce antibodies that can protect against later infections with the same microbe. This immunity can be transferred by giving serum to those at risk of infection.But wait, there's more!
In the early 20th century, physicians realized that they could prevent certain infectious diseases by taking serum from recovered patients and administering doses to those at risk of infection. This approach was used to stem outbreaks of measles, polio and mumps. Modern medicine continues to use antibodies from human serum to prevent certain infections such as rabies and hepatitis B.
This approach could help contain a coronavirus pandemic. Patients who recover from the virus could donate their blood to make serum. Doctors would test the serum for the antibodies that kill the coronavirus. Then this serum could be given to those at highest risk of infection—including nurses and doctors, particularly those who work in emergency rooms. A vaccine is in the works but may not be ready for months. Serum could be available within weeks.
Medicine has more than a century of experience with antibody therapies, and these approaches are often highly effective. Antibodies work best in preventing infections, especially those caused by viruses. This suggests a high likelihood of success with coronavirus.
Researchers are still working to understand what the ideal concentration of antibodies for treatment is, how long it takes patients to develop a response, and how long it lasts. Hospital trials, which are planned to start soon at the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the Montefiore Medical Center, will also shed light on when plasma treatments are most effective: As a prophylaxis before infection, in the early stages of illness to prevent it from escalating, or as a last-ditch attempt to save the gravely ill.Finally, if this pans out, as the number of recoveries climbs, the amount of available plasma will climb as well.
Plasma therapy is also gaining traction worldwide. Officials in the UK are evaluating a plan for trials there, and last week researchers in China published the results of a small trial in which five critically ill patients improved enough to be removed from ventilators after receiving plasma transfusions (three have been discharged, and two remain in stable condition in the hospital).
Last week, the FDA cleared the way for plasma treatment to be used experimentally on critically ill patients in US clinics that receive an emergency authorization; Joyner said the agency has granted about 15 so far and he expects many more will be forthcoming.
Researchers want recovered patients to donate plasma, the colorless fluid in blood containing antibodies produced to attack the virus, because it can be given to people who are seriously ill to help fight the disease.As the Nazis and Imperial Japan found out the hard way, no one does logistics better than the USA.
“The biggest problem is not the lack of donors,” said Arturo Casadevall, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, and one of the organizers of the national project. “It is the logistics of figuring out how people who want to participate can actually donate.”
Mount Sinai said it received more than 1,000 inquiries the first day after the call went out for plasma donations.
Finally, there is this snarktastic gem from Paul Joseph Watson. It could be a precursor to campaign commercials in the fall that would take on the progressives' most commonly used weapon - accusations of racism. Good Lord, I hope so. We can't be free of our own version of Nazi Race Theory soon enough.