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MSU doctor looking at old-school treatment for COVID-19

Getting paid for plasma: Repeat donors earning cash for blood
Posted at 6:26 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 18:26:04-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — There are plenty of scientists looking for new breakthroughs in coronavirus treatment.

A doctor at Michigan State University is turning to the past and asking for plasma donations.

Researchers are looking for people who recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma, particularly in hot zones like Detroit.

The idea is to use the antibodies in their blood to help other people fight the disease.

"There's a long history that kind of has been forgotten," said MSU Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Nigel Paneth

Convalescent plasma, or plasma from people who recovered from an illness, has been used to treat patients for more than 100 years.

It was a popular treatment before antibiotics where discovered.

"Give them plasma which was rich with antibodies from the convalescent patient and hope things would get better. There are a lot of signs of success with this or apparent success," said Dr. Paneth.

The Food and Drug Administration approved using plasma to treat patients with severe coronavirus symptoms.

Dr. Paneth is working with Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic to find plasma donors across the country.

"We're encouraging the development of proper trials so we can really evaluate properly what's going on," he said.

Johns Hopkins University said nearly 9,000 Americans have recovered from coronavirus so far.

Dr. Paneth says a little more than 1,000 of them have signed up to donate plasma.

The goal is to not only treat sick patients, but to study what actually works during the pandemic.

"Is it going to wipe out COVID 19 and everyone is going to go home happy? No, of course not. It's just one part of the puzzle. Hopefully, it can be one part of the puzzle," Dr. Paneth said.

Researchers are working with blood banks across the country, like the American Red Cross, to establish a nationwide donation network.

You can click here if you would like to learn how you can donate plasma.

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