Albany Med among first to treat coronavirus with experimental therapy

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the country to treat critically ill coronavirus patients with blood plasma therapy.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the experimental therapy for the hospital.

Convalescent plasma therapy—or plasma from a survivor of an infectious disease—was the same treatment used during the 1918 flu pandemic, the hospital said. When fighting illness, the body produces antibodies that remain in plasma for weeks or months after recovery. The antibodies in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 attack the virus and can potentially be useful as a treatment for the virus.

Albany Med’s first plasma donation came from an employee who has fully recovered from COVID-19. The donation was given to a critically ill patient at the hospital.

Albany Med is looking for additional donors for further research.

Eligible donors must be fully recovered from COVID-19 with no symptoms for at least 14 days. Candidates will be retested to ensure that the virus is no longer in their system. Once approved, the donations will be collected by the American Red Cross.

To determine eligibility, call 518-262-9340 beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 10. 

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