Clinical trial: COVID patient, 27, taken off ventilator after UCLA plasma transfusion

"I just feel really blessed that I was able to go to UCLA and get the treatment I needed to get better, and I feel really strong," Lauren Acosta said.
VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KABC) -- ABC7 first reported the story of Lauren Acosta, 27-year-old from Victorville in need of plasma, on April 22.

Following ABC7's report, a viewer reached out about a clinical trial at UCLA using plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat those suffering like Acosta. Two days later she was airlifted from St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she's spent the last two weeks.

"I just feel really blessed that I was able to go to UCLA and get the treatment I needed to get better, and I feel really strong," Acosta told ABC7 from her hospital bed on Friday.

Within hours of arriving at UCLA, Acosta had a plasma transfusion. Although there were many ups and downs, she finally made it off a ventilator and was released from UCLA back to St. Mary Medical Center on Friday. UCLA's clinical trial of plasma to treat COVID-19 patients has been used on 30 people so far.

"We've had people who have done better. We've had people who have stayed the same. It's hard to tell with such a limited number of patients who have received this convalescent plasma," said Dr. Alyssa Ziman, the head of UCLA's plasma study to treat COVID-19 patients.

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It's impossible to know right now if the plasma can be credited with Acosta's recovery, but her family can't praise the medical staff enough for nursing her back to health.

"They think it definitely did help. We started to see more encouraging signs that it may be working around the end of the week," said Lauren Acosta's mother, Lisa Loya.

Acosta survived thyroid cancer a few years ago and has chronic asthma. She still tests positive for COVID-19 and will need weeks of therapy, but she's now at a hospital six minutes from her family.

"She said she'll never take this beautiful life for granted again and it's pretty amazing to see that transformation in your child when they nearly lost their life. I can't get the words out to say how happy and thankful and grateful I am to everybody who helped me get Lauren's story out," said Loya.

"That's what keeps me going is my family and my friends. Everyone rooting for me," said Acosta.
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