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Cairo’s New Strategy to Battle Coronavirus

Egypt, like the United States and a handful of other countries, is trying to fight the pandemic in part by using convalescent plasma, the watery fluid in the blood of recovered patients that is teeming with antibodies. The idea is to harvest the plasma and inject it into other patients to give them an immunological boost that helps fight the same infection. The scientific community is divided on using plasma to treat Covid-19, but proponents say the technique has proven effective in small studies to treat other infectious diseases, including Ebola and SARS. Ihab Serageldin, director of Egypt’s National Blood Transfusion Centre, said he believes convalescent plasma is a promising treatment while the race continues to develop, mass-produce and distribute an effective vaccine. Since April he has spearheaded Egypt’s campaign urging the country’s more than 78,000 known recovered patients to donate their plasma. Over 200 people have so far donated plasma, each providing 800 ml of the fluid split into four bags, which are given to two patients at a time. Serageldin said there was no data yet on the success rate of Egypt’s plasma project.