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COVID-19: Turkey university begins passive immunisation

April 6, 2020 at 9:09 pm

In this photo illustration a coronavirus (2019-nCoV) positive blood sample is displayed on 14 February 2020 in Ankara, Turkey [Aytaç Ünal/Anadolu Agency]

A university in eastern Turkey has begun using blood plasma for the passive immunisation of novel coronavirus patients.

“Treatment started yesterday [Sunday] by collecting plasma from a patient who has recovered from the novel coronavirus and subsequently tested negative,” said Ahmet Kizilay the rector of Inonu University in Malataya province.

Pointing to China’s reported success with this method, Kizilay said in a statement:

For the first time in Turkey, the Turgut Ozal Medical Center in the university took plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients with the plasmapheresis method and applied it to another patient who is under intensive care in very serious condition. Our aim here is to give the antibodies taken from the recovered patients to the patient in intensive care,

he said, adding that this method had previously been used to treat SARS and Ebola as well.

He also called on people who recovered from the coronavirus to support this method, stressing that there were no side effects for recovered patients.

Turkey has so far reported 30,217 COVID-19 cases and the death toll in the country stands at 649.

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Since originating in Wuhan, China over three months ago, the virus has spread to at least 183 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly 1.3 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the global death toll over 70,700, and more than 271,000 recoveries.