CHICAGO - There is a medical breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus at an Uptown hospital.
Using convalescent plasma, the hospital has successfully treated and released a patient who was struggling with COVID-19.
In a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, Weiss Memorial Hospital is seeing great success with the plasma treatment where other treatments have failed.
"We had given this patient other modalities helping him to recover but when the plasma came in and he received that infusion, the next morning the nurse called me and said we're weaning his oxygen and I couldn't believe it, and within three days he was discharged,” said Dr. Suzanne Pham.
Two other patients also received the infusion of convalescent plasma and are doing great.
"There is faster rates of viral clearance, patients have lower rates of mortality and patients are getting out of the hospital, frankly just faster,” said Dr. Pham.
Dr. Pham is on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus. She was there when the hospital recently received a shipment of ventilators from GM, and now they are on the cutting edge of the investigational treatment.
"It was used in SARS COVID-1, it was used in the Ebola crisis, MERS it was also used, and even in H1N1,” said Dr. Pham.
Convalescent plasma comes from the blood of a patient who has recovered from COVID-19.
"They theoretically have developed immunity to this illness. And within their plasma they would have antibodies,” the doctor said.
When injected into a sick patient, those antibodies can track down and neutralize the virus. There are restrictions on who can receive the treatment, though. Still, the hospital is working to secure as much convalescent plasma as it can to help more patients.
The investigational treatment has been free for those who have received it, which is incredible.
The University of Chicago Medicine has also launched a clinical trial to treat patients with convalescent plasma.