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Rutgers researchers call for blood donations from coronavirus survivors to treat new patients

<p>Practitioners at University Hospital received approval from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month to use blood plasma to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.&nbsp;</p>

Practitioners at University Hospital received approval from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month to use blood plasma to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients. 


Rutgers physicians at University Hospital in Newark are calling for blood donations from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) survivors in an effort to treat current patients, according to a press release. 

Doctors at University Hospital received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 10 to use blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors when treating new patients in New Jersey, according to the release. The plasma could contain antibodies that doctors believe could help current patients fight off the virus. 

“The use of convalescent plasma — blood plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 — presents real hope for saving lives,” said Marc Klapholz, chair of the Department of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and University Hospital as well as the principal investigator for the use of convalescent COVID-19 plasma, according to the release.

This treatment method was administered to 17 COVID-19 patients, and FDA approval is pending to treat additional patients, according to the release. The progress of these patients will continue to be monitored by doctors and other researchers. 

Doctors do not know how effective the use of convalescent plasma will be in fighting COVID-19, but similar methods were studied during the Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreaks, according to the release. Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital, said he believes this treatment method will prove to be effective. 

“In our battle against the COVID-19 virus, we are excited to be trialing this potential life-saving therapy in partnership with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. This treatment plan has been used for more than 100 years to address disease outbreaks for other conditions, and we’re optimistic that it will save lives,” Elnahal said, according to the release.

The Daily Targum previously reported the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in New Jersey has been rising daily for a number of weeks, but Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said many patients have recovered.

“As we see the daily overall number of overall positive test results rise, we should also keep in mind that every day, there are hundreds, if not thousands of residents, who had received a prior positive test result who have now likely defeated the virus,” he said, according to the Targum. 

Those who have recovered and wish to contribute to this research must have evidence of a positive COVID-19 test result and be eligible to donate blood, according to the release. 


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