LONDON/WASHINGTON - A coronavirus treatment already approved in the UK and US which uses blood from recovered patients can help the infected get better within three days, a study has found.
Ten COVID-19 patients in China who were severely ill in hospital saw their symptoms disappear or rapidly improve within 72 hours after the therapy.
They were given a dose of plasma donated from COVID-19 survivors, which had the antibodies necessary for their immune system to clear the virus.
Known as convalescent plasma therapy, it has recently been given the green light by medical regulators in the UK and US to trial on critically ill patients.
The promising therapy, which was first used a century ago in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, has been used already in China and the US.
As well as proving to be life-saving, the therapy appears to be safe so far, with no serious side effects observed in the small study group.
It comes after a New York City mother who survived coronavirus last week became one of the first Americans to donate her blood plasma in hope of helping others. Tiffany Pinckney, 39, (pictured) said she felt like 'a beacon of hope' for those suffering.
But although experts say convalescent plasma is 'an important area to pursue', there is no conclusive evidence it is effective yet.
There is no cure for the killer coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.3 million people worldwide and killed almost 80,000. Thousands of patients worldwide are involved in trials of promising medicines.
A key advantage to the blood based therapy is that it’s available immediately and relies only drawing blood from a former patient.
It is also significantly cheaper than developing a new drug, which costs millions to take through trials and regulation before mass production.(FA)