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            Albany Med among first to use experimental COVID-19 treatment

            Hospital seeks plasma donations from people who've recovered from virus

            Staff report
            Doctor Dennis McKenna, incoming president and CEO of Albany Med, speaks at a press conference at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday, March 24, 体彩app官方网站, in Albany, N.Y. Representatives from Capital Region hospitals held the press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 preparedness efforts in the medical community. (Paul Buckowski/Times Union)
            Doctor Dennis McKenna, incoming president and CEO of Albany Med, speaks at a press conference at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday, March 24, 体彩app官方网站, in Albany, N.Y. Representatives from Capital Region hospitals held the press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 preparedness efforts in the medical community. (Paul Buckowski/Times Union)

            ALBANY — Albany Med is among the first hospitals in the country体彩app官方网站 to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use an experimental treatment for patients critically ill with COVID-19, according to a press release from Albany Med.

            The treatment, convalescent plasma therapy, was used during the 1918 flu pandemic. It uses the plasma from a survivor of an infectious disease to treat others.

            When fighting illness, the body produces antibodies — proteins that counteract a pathogen. Antibodies remain in plasma for weeks or months after recovery. The antibodies in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 attack the virus and can potentially be useful as a treatment for the still sickened by the virus.

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            Albany Med has already had a patient try the treatment. The first plasma donation was collected from an Albany Med employee who has fully recovered from COVID-19.

            Right now, Albany Med is seeking additional plasma donors for further research.

            Eligible donors must be fully recovered from COVID-19 with no symptoms for at least 14 days. Candidates will be retested to ensure that the virus is no longer in their system. Once approved, the donations will then be collected by the American Red Cross similarly to how blood donations are made.

            The research is being coordinated under the Mayo Clinic’s protocols — the national testing site for the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program.

            “We are honored to have the ability to administer this experimental therapy as we fight this global pandemic and hope that it can provide the life-saving treatment these patients inflicted with COVID-19 so desperately need,” said Dennis P. McKenna, M.D., president and CEO of Albany Med.

            To determine eligibility, those who have recovered from COVID-19 can call 518-262-9340 beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, April 10.