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Sun 12 Apr 2020 08:23 AM

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UAE trials plasma therapy in fight against coronavirus

Studies also taking place to establish effectiveness of drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

UAE trials plasma therapy in fight against coronavirus

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE health sector, said research is being carried out to assess how effective each potential treatment is. Image: WAM

Clinical trials of plasma therapy to treat Covid-19 are taking place in the UAE.

Health experts in the country are also looking at the impact of drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in efforts to find a solution to the global pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 108,000 people worldwide.

In the UAE alone there are currently 3,736 confirmed cases and 20 deaths.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE health sector, said research is being carried out to assess how effective each potential treatment is.

She said: “Some preliminary studies have shown the effectiveness of drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 treatment. These are drugs used in the country, and their effectiveness, as well as that of other antiviral drugs, is being continuously monitored.”

In the absence of a vaccine, doctors and scientists across the world are looking to so-called convalescent plasma because they consider it low risk and because it has been effective during past epidemics.

The treatment injects antibody-rich plasma from people who have recovered from the novel coronavirus into people who have severe cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Antibodies are proteins in blood that fight specific bacteria and viruses.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been a particular fan of hydroxychloroquine, a drug currently used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical trials have already began in America.

Dr Al Hosani added: “The efforts of our teams in the health authorities are continuing as part of the country's plan to bring the pandemic under control. An increase in testing in recent weeks has enabled us to detect more cases, limit the spread of the virus, and isolate those who came in contact with patients.”

There are currently 13 new drive-through coronavirus testing centres across the UAE.

“We call upon individuals suffering from a high temperature or with respiratory symptoms, such as cold and cough, to approach the nearest medical centre for examination and follow preventative measures, such as wearing face masks and social distancing with others in medical centres,” said Dr Al Hosani.​

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