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Convalescent plasma could help COVID-19 patients in Las Vegas

Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 01:20:31-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The blood from recovered coronavirus patients could provide help not only for current patients but for healthcare workers as well.

The fight against COVID-19 continues in hospitals all around the valley, with doctors using various methods to treat patients. One process is convalescent plasma, where antibodies from recovered patients are used.

“If we can collect that plasma, the liquid part of the blood from patients that have recovered, that can be used therapeutically in patients that are sick with the disease,” Dr. Marc J. Kahn said.

Kahn is a dean at the UNLV School of Medicine and says convalescent plasma may be an effective treatment, based on studies of similar diseases like SARS and MERS. He says the priority would go to treating patients first but could be expanded to provide proactive protection for health care workers if it works.

“It would allow us to comfortably, go out on the front lines and take care of patients,” Kahn said.

Continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

Blood from recovered patients would need to be collected, according to the school that has partnered with a blood center Vitalant to make that happen.

The center’s medical director says the former patients can make a difference.

“They’re now coming in, being able to potentially save up to five lives every time they come to donate,” Dr. Marissa Li said.

She also says it’s a relatively safe procedure.

List of resources for Nevadans during coronavirus pandemic

Dr. Kahn says he encourages donations to help the wider community.

“The first time a patient donates plasma, that plasma is going to stay right here in Las Vegas to treat Las Vegas patients,” he said.

More information for anyone interested in donating plasma as a recovered COVID-19 patient can be found here.