Hospitals using plasma as treatment for COVID patients

Debate over using plasma to treat COVID patients

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There continues to be a debate about using plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. Some hospitals in Alabama and across the country are using it to treat patients. Others are taking part in trials saying not enough information has been developed on the treatment just yet.

The FDA did provide an emergency authorization allowing for the use of plasma as a treatment method for COVID patients. Hospitals in Alabama are using it saying it works, but others believe there hasn’t been enough research just yet.

Those who had COVID donate blood and the plasma is separated from the blood. In turn, the plasma is then given to COVID patients.

Dr. Michael Saag heads UAB’s Infectious Diseases Division. Saag had the coronavirus at one point. He says there is a lot they still don’t know including when do you give the plasma to a patient? When they arrive or heading to ICU? He believes the earlier the better.

There are also questions about the antibody level. Low or high? UAB is taking part in plasma trials now to answer some of those questions.

“We are left with a situation where this is an emerging infection. The treatments are emerging. It’s like building a plane in mid-flight and we are doing the best we can,” Saag said.

Dr. Saag believes the plasma treatment has an effect but his other concern is he doesn’t want the plasma treatment to take precedent over other treatment methods.

Meanwhile, supporters believe it can make a difference and save lives.

Click on this link if you are interested in participating in the current clinical trials at UAB.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.