COVID-19?s stop-gap solution until vaccines are ready

Brian W. Simpson

As novel coronavirus cases continue to mount globally, humanity can?t turn to its go-to infectious disease fixes: vaccines and drugs. At least not yet. A new vaccine might be at least 12 to 18 months away though new drug treatments will likely come sooner.

Arturo Casadevall, chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is helping organize a national effort to use antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients for protection and treatments. In a?March 13?Journal of Clinical Investigation article, Casadevall and Liise-anne Pirofski of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine proposed the stop-gap measure of using plasma (serum) from the blood of survivors until a vaccine and antiviral medications are available.

In this Q&A with Global Health NOW, Casadevall says clinical trials ?could begin in 3?4 weeks provided that they clear all the regulatory steps. If that happens, he anticipates widespread availability by early summer.
How can plasma be useful against the novel coronavirus?
When you recover from many viral diseases, you have in your blood what are called neutralizing antibodies. These are antibodies that kill the virus. Once you recover, the plasma can be taken from donors. It?s very safe. It’s the same thing as using a blood donation except they don?t take the red blood cells, they take the liquid. They take the plasma. It is itself a drug… it can be used for prevention of infection for people who are being exposed?or it could be used for therapy for those who are sick.

It?s not a vaccine. Think about it as the administration of a protein, it?s a liquid that is given to people that gives them immunity. .. Read complete story from Source

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