A Houston-area hospital became the first hospital in the U.S. to transfuse blood plasma of a recovered COVID-19 patient into one that is critically ill, an experimental therapy that could be used in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Houston Methodist Hospital transfused the plasma on Saturday night, noting the individual who donated the plasma had been in good health for more than two weeks. The procedure, known as convalescent serum therapy, dates back more than 100 years and was first used in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and subsequent other outbreaks of infectious diseases during the 20th century.
“Here at Houston Methodist, we have the capability, the expertise and the patient base from our health care system, and we feel obligated to try this therapy,” said Houston Methodist president and CEO Marc Boom in a statement.
“There is so much to be learned about this disease while it’s occurring,” Boom added. “If an infusion of convalescent serum can help save the life of a critically ill patient, then applying the full resources of our blood bank, our expert faculty, and our academic medical center is incredibly worthwhile and important to do.”