By Murat Asil
KAYSERI, Turkey (AA) – A Turkish university has started working on passive immunization — a method that aims to take immune plasm from recovered COVID-19 patients, and use it in the treatment of other victims in critical condition.
The recovered patients are expected to donate blood in the university's lab such that they could hopefully contribute to the recovery of others, Mustafa Calis, head of Erciyes University, said in a statement.
He said plasm treatment has long been used in treating various illnesses.
"Antibodies taken from those who have recovered, or have gained immunity, are given to the sick. This way, there is a chance of recovery if the patients cannot develop their own immunity," he said.
"This method was used in the treatment of SARS and Ebola before. COVID-19 is new in medical literature but based on previous experience and research on people who tested positive for COVID-19, health professionals say this method could be effective."
Calis went on to say that those who have recovered will be included in the plasm-collecting pool with their permission.
"Patients with a negative coronavirus test will be tested again after two weeks to make sure there is no virus left in the body," the university rector said.
"We will then collect the plasm from these individuals in a method that takes around 45 minutes. These immune plasms will be sent to patients in the ICU. We hope it will help in their recovery."
Turkey has so far reported more than 27,069 COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 574.
Since originating in Wuhan, China over three months ago, the virus has spread to at least 183 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 1.3 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the global death toll over 70,000, and more than 270,000 recoveries.
*Writing by Firdevs Bulut