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St. Francis Hospital approved to test potentialy life-saving COVID-19 treatment

The FDA approved Trinity Health of New England as one of four health networks in the country to run the new treatment.

HARTFORD, Conn — A new treatment option is here for those battling COVID-19. This test has shown significant success in helping those infected with the virus recover. Doctors say it has the potential to save lives.

"Saving one life is absolutely worth it," said Dr. Danyal Ibrahim

Possibly saving one life and many more could be the result of a new clinical trial. The FDA approved Trinity Health of New England as one of four health networks in the country to run the new treatment.

"To have a promising potentially life-saving therapy on the horizon that we can absolutely offer our patients is extremely exciting," said Dr. Ibrahim. 

The treatment focuses on convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19. The plasma containing healthy antibodies is harvested from a donor’s bloodstream. Those antibodies are infused into a recipient with a matching blood type to help develop immunity.

"Those patients who are fortunate that had an infection, but their bodies fought back and developed enough immunity that potentially gives them a great opportunity to be a donor to help someone in real dire need," said Dr. Ibrahim. 

This type of treatment has been successful in the past with battling recent pandemics like H1N1 and SARS. Tests on COVID-19 patients in China showed promising signs of recovery.

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"We are just looking at this option to see if it’s a viable treatment option by examining its safety and outcomes in about 15 to 20 individuals to start with," said Dr. Latha Dulipsingh. 

The treatment is different from a vaccine. A vaccine builds antibodies to fight illness. This treatment skips past the creation process delivering results faster. 

"Within a week we should be able to see what their improvement is," said Dulipsingh. 

The testing process will begin Thursday morning. The Trinity Health Network will begin reaching out to people they know have successfully recovered from COVID-19. They are also asking if you have recovered and are willing to donate to contact St. Francis.

According to State Representative Matt Blumenthal, Stamford was also approved for this kind of testing.