Press conference on the role of scientific and technological innovation in supporting epidemic prevention and control

A press conference was held Friday morning to explain the role of scientific and technological innovation in supporting the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak. February 22, 2020

We have noticed that the Ministry of Science and Technology has lately called for "thousands of patients cured of COVID-19 to donate plasma to save the other thousands of infected cases." Is the treatment involving use of blood plasma of cured patients now in wide use? And how is the effect of the treatment? Thank you.

Xu Nanping:

Thank you very much for your question. By asking this question you gave me an opportunity to show highest respect to the cured patients who have donated their blood plasma. Up to yesterday, more than 100 cured patients had donated blood plasma which can be used to produce approximately 240 portions of plasma for clinical use to treat more than 200 severe and critically-ill cases.

You mentioned that, at the last press conference, the Ministry of Science and Technology called for "thousands of patients cured of COVID-19 to donate plasma to save the other thousands of infected cases." After that conference, Zhong Nanshan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Zhang Dingyu, head of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital and other clinical experts in the frontline explained about the therapeutic effect and safety of convalescent plasma therapy. Let me give you an example. Among the first 11 patients receiving plasma therapy in Wuhan, six had developed viremia. After two to three days plasma therapy, this had disappeared and the patients got better. Patients in other regions who receive plasma therapy are also quite stable, now. Overall, the effect is positive.

You also asked about the next step. First, the plasma therapy was included in the fifth version of the diagnosis and therapeutic plan. It will be further improved in the sixth version. It is confirmed that the therapy can be used to save lives of three types of patients, i.e. quickly worsening patients, severely-ill patients and critical patients. Because it is included in the treatment plan, doctors can use it in the clinic. Second, 20 teams in charge of collecting plasma have been organized to station in 11 provinces with a relatively larger number of recovered patients. After a month of research, the process of collecting and follow-up processing has been standardized to ensure safety. Now, conditions are favorable to roll out the therapy in key areas. Third, a few days ago, the National Health Commission released a document requiring local health system to support this work. It provides institutional guarantee to apply the plasma therapy to treat severe and critical patients nationwide. 

As for the next step, we hope that more recovered people can donate plasma and show their love. We also hope that quickly worsening, severely-ill and critical patients could consider this treatment plan on the basis of informed consent. More importantly, medical institutions and doctors should follow the protocols and requirements to use plasma therapy to treat more patients, giving hope to the most severe cases.

Hu Kaihong:

Today's conference is hereby concluded. Thank you, speakers. Thank you all.

Translated and edited by Zhang Liying, Zhang Lulu, Gong Yingchun, Zhang Rui, Yan Xiaoqing, Cui Can, Yang Xi, Duan Yaying, Wu Jin, Zhu Bochen, Liu Sitong, Wang Yiming, Li Huiru, Wang Wei, He Shan, Li Xiao, Fan Junmei, Yuan Fang, Guo Xiaohong, Wang Yanfang, Geoffrey Murray. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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