MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say 2,300 COVID-19 patients all over the country have given the okay to try convalescent plasma treatment.

The treatment, which has been used in previous pandemics, involves collecting blood plasma from patients who have recovered, to try to find antibodies against the virus.

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The hope is that those antibodies could help a patient who is sick to recover.

“You can give it to someone in the hospital whose immune system is working but maybe not hard enough or not effectively enough,” Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. R. Scott Wright said.

So far 750 patients in the U.S. have already been given plasma treatment.

The Mayo Clinic, which is leading the study, is working with more than 1,600 institutions all over the country.

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Researchers say if the results of the clinical trials are successful, the treatment could be the best defense against the virus until there is a vaccine.

“This is likely the most important project that I’ve ever been involved with,” Dr. Wright said. “More people are dying every day right now in the U.S. from COVID than of heart disease or cancer.”

Dr. Wright says he thinks it would take having 5,000-10,000 patients undergoing plasma treatment to get a good sample of its effectiveness.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would then have to assess whether or not it works before the program could be expanded.

“This to me is a potential glimmer of hope,” Dr. Wright said.

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Click here for more information about the work being done.

Kate Raddatz