The antibodies produced by those free of COVID-19 could fight the virus in those still sick.
Dr. Michael Joyner, a member of the CCPP19 leadership team, told ABC News that Smart is among at least four recovered National Basketball Association players who intend to share their blood for an experimental treatment that could help high-risk patients overcome the virus. Among the many treatment options now under investigation for COVID-19, from antiviral medications to blood clot-preventing medication, is an old treatment method called convalescent plasma therapy. A preliminary report published in JAMA found that five patients in China who were seriously ill and on ventilators improved after plasma transfusions.
"Trials need to be undertaken, otherwise we will not know if this intervention is effective and worthwhile". They were also taking other antiviral medications at the time of plasma therapy.
The experimental treatment has been touted by some of the top health officials in the country as researchers race to find a proven treatment for the new disease, which is caused by the CCP (Communist Chinese Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. In the case of COVID-19, experts have yet to work out numerous details.
The concept reportedly dates back to the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic erroneously called the "Spanish Flu" (its true provenience is unknown).
Plasma from recovered patients may have antibodies against the CCP virus that could potentially help patients recover, according to Dr. Eric Salazar, a physician scientist with Houston Methodist's Research Institute. Mighty contributor Kate Mazzarella, who faced a life-threatening Epstein-Barr virus infection, said it was plasma treatments that finally helped her condition.
In the United Kingdom, researhers from the University of Glasgow have applied to the National Institute for Health Research to run clinical trials using plasma. Preliminary findings indicated positive results but researchers stressed evaluation in clinical trials is needed. The Red Cross has also established a program for potential donors to sign up.