Doctors explain how 'convalescent plasma' may help COVID-19 patients

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Plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19 is still an experimental treatment for the virus, but it remains in high demand.

Doctors call it "convalescent plasma."

It's not a cure for COVID-19, but it may help the body fight the virus.

"It seems to work best in the first week of infection when the virus is still surging in the body," said Dr. James Castillo, the Cameron County health authority. "And if you give the antibodies at that point, it probably helps give the immune system a head start on the virus." 

By the second or third week, the plasma may be less useful, Castillo said.

When deciding whether or not a COVID-19 patient should receive plasma, doctors consider a wide variety of factors. They also must find plasma from a donor with a matching blood type.

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