Wash. U. doctor reaches back in time in an effort to help those infected with the coronavirus

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ST. LOUIS - A Washington University Medical School physician is working on a procedure that may lessen the suffering of coronavirus patients. The doctor is going back in time to cure a dreadful disease in 2020.

The FDA just approved it Tuesday and doctors hope to begin trying it on patients in the next week or so.

“This is a stone-age procedure for a new disease,” said Dr. Jeffrey Henderson, Washington University.

It’s similar to what you see at the Red Cross. Dr. Henderson and his colleagues want to remove plasma from a person who has recovered from the coronavirus, create a serum and inject it in a patient who is sick with the illness.

 “It helps the body recognize the virus faster and clear it out,” said Dr. Henderson.

He said the idea was used during the Spanish Flu in 1918 which killed millions, and even about 30 years before that for diphtheria.

“Reports we can find of that it had some successes in making the disease less severe.”

He says it’s not a cure or a vaccine, but it could help patients. The good plasma transfers antibodies that recognize the virus.

“Those antibodies can help fight off the infection.”

The procedure may also save lives. Dr. Henderson started out working with two other physicians, now one hundred medical institutions are on board.

With any procedure there are risks.

Henderson said in this case they are small. Doctors will probably begin using the procedure in New York, and it all started in St. Louis.


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