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UMass Memorial reports improvement in first coronavirus patient treated with plasma

UMass Memorial Medical Center.
UMass Memorial Medical Center.Pat Greenhouse

UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester reported the results of its first plasma transfusion for a critically ill COVID-19 patient on Tuesday.

The patient “dramatically improved overall” after hours of transfusion and began to be weaned off a ventilator, the hospital said in a statement. Previously, the patient had required the ventilator working near its maximum settings to oxygenate his blood, according to the statement.

UMass Memorial has established a convalescent plasma registry and last week began seeking Central Massachusetts residents who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and recovered from the illness to volunteer as potential donors, the hospital said.

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It is also asking medical professionals with recovering patients who could be candidates to contact the registry.

Plasma from patients recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies that can attack the virus, according to an online information page about the UMass Memorial study.

UMass Memorial is also one of three hospitals in the state participating in the first US clinical trial of a Japanese flu drug that could be used to treat COVID-19, the Globe reported earlier this month.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.