Scott Cohen was on a ventilator struggling for his life with Covid-19 last April when his brothers pleaded with Plainview Hospital on Long Island to infuse him with the blood plasma of a recovered patient. The experimental treatment was hard to get but was gaining attention at a time when doctors had little else. After an online petition drew 18,000 signatures , the hospital gave Mr. Cohen, a retired Nassau County medic, an infusion of the pale yellow stuff that some called "liquid gold." In those terrifying early months of the pandemic, the idea that antibody-rich plasma could save lives took on a life of its own before there was evidence that it worked. The Trump administration, buoyed by proponents at elite medical institutions, seized on plasma as a good-news story at a time when there weren't many others. It awarded more than $800 million to entities involved in its collection and administration, and put Dr. Anthony S. Fauci's face on billboards promoting the treatment. A coalition of companies and nonprofit groups, including the Mayo Clinic, Red Cross and Microsoft, mobilized to urge donations from people who had recovered from Covid-19, enlisting celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson,… Read full this story
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