Two serious COVID-19 patients fully recovered with plasma treatment for the first time in South Korea. Both of the patients are over 65 and one of them had an underlying disease. Plasma is the liquid component of blood, excluding red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet, and has antibodies responsible for the immune system. For plasma treatment, the plasma extracted from a fully-recovered patient is injected.
According to the Severance Hospital of Yonsei University on Tuesday, a 67-year-old female patient who was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 on March 1 did not show much improvement even after administering malaria and AIDS medicines. A team led by Professor Choi Jun-yong of infectious diseases at the Severance Hospital injected the 500-millimeter plasma of a recovered patient twice with a 12-hour gap. Since then, her pneumonia symptoms has improved and her inflammation figure, which was over 20 times higher than the normal range, has gone down. Another patient aged 71 who also received plasma treatment on March 7 tested negative after two weeks of treatment.
Even though medical grounds for the efficacy of plasma treatment is insufficient, it is usually used to treat infections diseases, for which vaccines or medicines are yet to be developed. The same treatment was used for MERS in 2015 as well.
Sung-Min Park firstname.lastname@example.org