Debilitated patients rally after dose of survivors’ blood
People seriously ill with COVID-19 experienced striking improvement after receiving infusions of blood from disease survivors, according to two separate research teams.
Both teams extracted antibody-laden plasma — a component of blood — from people who’d recovered from COVID-19.
How blood from coronavirus survivors might keep hospitals afloat
Xiaoming Yang at the National Engineering Technology Research Center for Combined Vaccines in Wuhan, China, and his colleagues gave the plasma to ten severely ill people. By the sixth day after the treatment, the virus that causes COVID-19 was undetectable in seven of the ten. The recipients experienced no significant side effects (K. Duan et al. Preprint at medRxiv http://doi.org/dqrs; 2020).
A group led by Lei Liu at Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital in China gave survivors’ plasma to five “critically ill” people (C. Shen et al. J. Am. Med. Assoc. http://doi.org/dqn7; 2020). Symptoms dwindled in all five; within ten days of receiving the plasma, three recipients no longer needed ventilators.
Other researchers would like to try such transfusions to treat health workers who have been directly exposed.
Viral proteins point to potential treatments
A list of the human proteins affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus offers a guide to potential treatments for infected people.
A team led by Nevan Krogan at the University of California, San Francisco, engineered human cells to produce one of 26 proteins made by the coronavirus (D. E. Gordon et al. Preprint at bioRxiv https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.22.002386; 2020). This allowed the researchers to identify human proteins that physically interact with coronavirus proteins.
Out of 332 interactions between human and viral proteins, the authors identified 67 that existing or candidate drugs could potentially disrupt. The researchers and their collaborators are now testing some of these compounds for antiviral activity — and urge others to do the same.
Source and Ref : https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00502-w