(WXYZ) — Saint Joseph Mercy Health System treated its first hospitalized COVID-19 patient at its Ann Arbor hospital with plasma donated by a person who has recovered from the virus.
The procedure is part of the Mayo Clinic Coordinated Expanded Access to Convalescent Plasma Program.
Eleven St. Joe's patients were among the first 200 nationally to be registered for the trial that will include more than 1,000 hospitals across the country.
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, St. Mary Mercy Livonia and Mercy Health Muskegon are participating.
"Early participation in this program is due in part to our robust oncology research program, which gave us the ability to quickly develop our plasma program to respond in the hopes of helping to bring forward a treatment for COVID-19 as soon as possible," said Anurag Malani, M.D., medical director, Infection Prevention and Control, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, who serves as Principal Investigator. "Our focus now is to spread the word to those who have had COVID to donate their plasma for use in this program."
Officials say that in some other diseases caused by viruses, giving people the liquid portion of blood, obtained from those who have recovered from the virus, leads to more rapid improvement of the disease.
St. Joseph Mercy officials say it is not known if this treatment will or will not help with COVID-19 or if it will have any harmful effects. The program will help researchers collect important information on the patients who received the treatment.
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