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Plasma from recovered patients an effective coronavirus treatment, officials said

By Zhang Zhihao in Beijing and Liu Kun in Wuhan | | Updated: 2020-04-17 20:25
Zhou, right, a recovered novel coronavirus pneumonia patient donates blood at Wuhan Blood Center in Wuhan, Hubei province, on March 16, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

More than 600 severe patients with COVID-19 in Hubei province, over 500 of whom were from Wuhan, have been treated with plasma transfusions and saw notable improvement, officials said on Friday.

On Feb 1, Wuhan began drawing plasma from recovered donors. Eight days later it treated its first severe patient using plasma containing antibodies against the virus, said Wang Feng, director of the Wuhan Blood Center, at a news briefing in Wuhan on Friday.

As of today, 1,101 recovered patients have donated 380,000 milliliters of antibody-infused plasma in Wuhan. "This plasma has been used in 13 designated hospitals to treat over 500 patients, effectively meeting our clinical needs," Wang said.

The center has also been tasked to train the city's other health facilities on how to use plasma to treat the novel coronavirus, as well as holding detailed briefings with experts on the antiviral mechanism of treatment and guidelines for treating patients, she said.

These efforts have made plasma transfusion safer and more effective, she said. And by having a unified standard of treatment, it can further ensure clinical efficacy across the city.

As for the whole of Hubei province, Yu Xuehua, an inspector at the provincial health commission, said there are 19 plasma collection stations throughout the province, and 1,627 recovered patients have donated. The plasma has been used to treat over 600 patients, he said.

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