LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) - The first two patients in San Diego have been treated with an experimental treatment for COVID-19.
Known as convalescent plasma therapy, blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients is given to patients currently battling the virus.
“The basis of this is to collect from the blood these antibodies and give them to another individual to help treat the infection,” said Dr. James Mason, Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Scripps Green Hospital.
While it is not an FDA approved treatment for COVID-19, the FDA has been granting emergency approval on a case-by-case basis.
The therapy has been used in previous viral outbreaks, such as Ebola and SARS, according to Mason.
It has already been used at other facilities to treat COVID-19, but Scripps Green Hospital was the first to administer the therapy to patients in San Diego.
One patient received the transfusion on April 1 and another on April 22 according information provided by the hospital.
In order to administer the plasma, hospitals need blood donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Encinitas Robert Riordan said he was diagnosed in mid-March and has been symptom free since March 27.
He donated his plasma at Scripps last week.
“It was a no-brainer,” said Riordan.
The San Diego Blood Bank has also been calling for plasma donations.
As of Monday, they had received plasma from 62 people who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“All we want to do is encourage people who are now feeling healthy to come in because their plasma could help people that were suffering the same symptoms they were surfing and maybe worse,” said Claudine Van Gonka with the SD Blood Bank.
For more information on who is eligible and how to donate, visit their website.