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What plasma donations could mean for the hardest-hit COVID-19 patients
The son of a retired New York State investigator hopes the experimental treatment of convalescent plasma will help his father, who has been in the hospital for more than two weeks battling the coronavirus.
Those who have fully recovered from the coronavirus may be able to help patients fighting the virus by donating the convalescent plasma — the clear, straw-colored liquid part of the blood that contains special proteins — produced in their blood, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to be considered as a possible donor, a patient must be fully recovered for two weeks.
“Convalescent plasma can also be used to manufacture a biological product called hyperimmune globulin, which can similarly be used to treat patients with COVID-19,” according to a statement issued by the FDA on Thursday that encourages recovered coronavirus patients to donate plasma.
Since the coronavirus’ first outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China, in December over 2.2 million people around the world have been diagnosed and over 570,000 have fully recovered. In the United States, over 700,000 people were diagnosed and over 60,000 have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
Provisional death count data from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control as of April 14 shows that people of color, who make up less than 40% of the United States population, are dying at a higher rate. According to the data, 16.6% of Hispanics and 17.9% of African Americans diagnosed with the coronavirus have died.
The demographic of coronavirus recoveries are not available.
What to know about Coronavirus:
While plasma transfusions are still in the experimental stages to treat coronavirus patients, the Fernandez family are willing to take a chance to help Danny Fernandez.
Danny Fernandez, a retired New York State senior investigator, has been on a ventilator in ICU at an Orange County hospital since April 1.
“So far where it has been used, it is showing some success, so we are hopeful he has some success with it,” Yesenia Fernandez told ABC News’ local affiliate WABC on Friday.
“It was experimental, and we didn’t know of any donors personally, so we are trying to come out and get donors,” said Zachary Fernandez to WABC.
Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data from China suggests that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19, the FDA said.
Blood donation organizations like New York Blood Center says on their website that they have received several inquiries from concerned people about how to get convalescent plasma donations to their specific loved one.
“At this time, we are building a public bank of CP (convalescent plasma) and there is not an option to make a directed donation (making a donation for a specific patient),” according to the New York Blood Center.
Unlike giving blood where it takes up to 15 minutes to donate, a plasma donation is more of a time commitment.
After a blood is drawn from the arm, it “takes a spin” in a centrifuge to separate your plasma from other blood components. The plasma is collected in a separate bag and the remainder of your blood is returned to you. This cycle is repeated several times to generate the required volume of plasma,” according to the New York Blood Center.
The Fernandez family hopes someone steps up to donate soon.
WABC’s Tim Fliescher contributed to this report
What plasma donations could mean for the hardest-hit COVID-19 patients originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Weight-loss diet developed at Penn State ranked second-best for 2020 | PhillyVoice
A weight loss diet created by a nutritionist at Penn State University has been ranked one of the best to follow in 2020 for those looking to shed pounds.
U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings this week, identifying the best diets for a variety of nutritional goals, from healthy eating to weight loss and commercial programs.
Tied for second in the category of weight loss plans is Barbara Rolls’ Volumetrics diet, which advocates consuming less calorically dense meals that still succeed in producing the feeling of satiety, or fullness. The diet has appeared in the rankings every year since 2011.
Rolls, a professor of nutrition at Penn State, developed the diet after observing that people tend to eat a similar weight or volume of food at meals. The difference this has on weight comes down to the calorie and nutritional content of those meals.
“With the plan, I aim for people to find a healthy eating pattern that they can enjoy and therefore keep doing,” Rolls told Penn State News. “It focuses on thinking positively about what you can eat rather than restricting, because that’s not sustainable. When you enjoy your diet, that’s going to help you not only be healthier but to also aid in weight management.”
The Volumetrics diet often includes recipes that feature lean meats, whole grains, fiber-rich cereals, beans and legumes, low-fat fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Rolls’ early research found that when people start a meal with a bowl of broth-based soup, for example, they consume fewer calories and feel just as full as those who skip the first course.
“If people are eating a consistent weight of food, then the calories in each ounce or bite are going to make a big difference,” Rolls said. “We’ve done other studies that show you can reduce the density of calories in food by 25 to 30 percent without compromising taste, by tweaking the ingredients.”
Volumetrics was tied with the vegan diet in the weight-loss category, behind only Weight Watchers. It ranked 5th among overall diets, tied for 6th among diabetes diets, and tied again for 6th among healthy eating diets.
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