NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)- Research is critical during this pandemic. With so much unknown about the coronavirus, doctors and scientists are exploring new methods to finding a treatment.
A New Orleans doctor is collecting blood samples from local survivors of Covid-19. The blood samples will help make a new kind of treatment for the masses.
“Our hospitals are full. Brimming over with sick people and there really is only one reason for that, we don’t have a vaccine and we don’t have an approved treatment and this is the way we get it,” said Robert Jeanfreau, MD, Medpharmics Medical Director.
We need to do more research, that is what doctors and scientists are pushing for at this point in the pandemic.
“What’s going to get us out of this is really good science and really good science done quickly,” reasoned David Johnson, Ph.D., MBA, GigaGen Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder.
Which is why Johnson’s team is working closely with Dr. Jeanfreau and searching for survivors of coronavirus in New Orleans.
“What we do is a little different. What we do is a biotechnology trick. We take the white blood cells from the blood of the best donors and we extract the DNA from the white blood cells and those code for the antibodies,” shared Johnson.
The brand-new treatment is being developed by a San Francisco biotech company, called GigaGen.
The idea is to copy the immune system of patients who successfully fought off the disease and paste it into those who are at risk.
“The idea being if you find someone who’s survived and they have so called good antibodies then you administers that to someone who is not doing well and hopefully they will improve,” explained Dr. Jeanfreau.
Many covid-19 patients are treated with ‘hard to come by’ plasma-based antibody therapies. The problem is, the method depends on the number of donors and right now, healthcare workers are struggling to access it.
“So, instead of just treating just a few patients per donor, we can treat millions of patients per donor,” said Johnson.
In order to donate blood samples, the survivor must be healthy without symptoms for 30 days plus the 14 day quarantine.