Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health joined “Bill Hemmer Reports” Wednesday to talk about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of his school’s treatment of coronavirus patients with blood plasma.
“So when people get better from coronavirus, they have in their blood antibodies that can kill the virus. So if they were to donate the plasma, and the plasma is the liquid part of the blood that could be used in many ways, it could be used to treat people who are very sick,” Casadevall said.
“It could be used to prevent some people from getting worse,” he added. “And it could potentially be used to prevent people who’ve been exposed from ever developing the illness. So we’re getting ready to test these options. There is a lot of encouragement in history that this may work. However, we need to do the appropriate clinical trials, to be sure.”
Hemmer asked Casadevall on how long it would take to work through the process.
“I think it all depends on how many patients we get and how many other institutions get involved, because the more patients you get, the quicker you get the answer,” Casadevall said. “I think given the interest and given the need, we may be able to have an answer in a couple of months.”
The doctor then spoke of the potential good that could come from the treatment, while keeping a note of caution.
“I’m a scientist, I don’t conclude things without doing clinical trials. It could have a variety of very important uses. It can save people. It could reduce mortality,” Casadevall said. “It could prevent people from getting worse and having to go into [an] intensive care unit where there is respirator shortages. It could also prevent, if it was used prophylactically, it could prevent people who’ve been exposed from ever getting sick. So we think of it as some measure that could be used in the middle of this epidemic to stem the suffering.”