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Crestwood Hospital in Huntsville using convalescent plasma to treat coronavirus

Crestwood Medical Center's CEO discussed some of the risks with convalescent plasma.

Posted: Aug 24, 2020 5:54 PM
Updated: Aug 24, 2020 9:25 PM

The Federal Drug Administration announced emergency authorization for convalescent plasma as a coronavirus treatment.

That's when plasma with antibodies from a recovered coronavirus patient is given to someone currently fighting the disease.

The FDA says at this point, research shows that the benefits of it outweigh the risks. WAAY 31 learned North Alabama hospitals have been using it successfully.

Crestwood Medical Center's CEO, Dr. Pam Hudson, said they have been using convalescent plasma for the past four months under research protocol. She said while she hasn't heard of any complications, there are some risks with the procedure.

“The first risk is it might not work so that you would expose a patient to something that may have potential harm and has no chance of helping," said Hudson. 

Now that the FDA issued an emergency use authorization, the administration said it could make the treatment available to more patients. However, the treatment hasn't gone through a full FDA approval process, meaning there was no randomized trial involving a placebo.

In Huntsville, Hudson said more data is still needed. 

“Unfortunately, almost all the results that are coming out on the various treatment modalities are early results, relatively small populations, so time will tell," said Hudson.

She said over the four months it's been used in North Alabama, doctors have seen "favorable" results.

“I’ve not seen that the providers in our community have backed off that use so, I believe the thought is and the feeling is from the researchers in the field that this is helpful," said Hudson.

In the meantime, she said there are still risks involved.

“Human plasma has the same risks as any blood donation does. While those are small, they are still real," said Hudson.

Hudson said medicines like remdesivir and dexamethasone also show favorable results to treating coronavirus.

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