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60 Minutes Profiles CDI, HMH COVID-19 Plasma Program

The convalescent plasma program of Hackensack Meridian Health continues to offer hope to patients with COVID-19, for which there is no proven cure or vaccine. The science behind the treatments, which infuse survivor’s antibodies into sick patients, was built partly upon expertise from the health network’s Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI).

60 Minutes profiled the health network’s experts who have collaborated to create the program in its May 31 broadcast. The 13-minute piece included interviews with the clinicians, donors, and patients who had become part of the ongoing clinical trial at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Among those featured were David Perlin, Ph.D., the chief scientific officer and senior vice president of the CDI, and his counterpart Michele Donato, M.D., FACP, CPE, chief of stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy at John Theurer Cancer Center.

To end the piece, Perlin told correspondent Bill Whitaker that he was cautiously optimistic by the data he had seen thus far.

“My gut says this is going to work. The initial response of the patients is incredible encouraging… but as a scientist, I’m trained to be cautious,” said Perlin. “Right now this is our best approach, we’re going to take it, we’ll be aggressive with it. But we’ll see how patients respond.”

The online version of the60 Minutes piece can be found here.