In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, things moved way too quickly for Scott Cohen and his family.
He remembers how it began on a Friday afternoon in March in New York state, where they live. Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all but essential workers to stay home. Cohen’s father got sick almost immediately and was hospitalized. Four or five days later, Cohen’s younger son started having symptoms. Not long after that, both Cohen and his wife got sick – very sick.
Sadly, Cohen’s father died while Scott struggled in the hospital. His brothers shaken by the loss of their father, launched a campaign to get Cohen access to convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is plasma donated by recovered patients who survived COVID-19 and now have antibodies to the potentially deadly virus.
“The only thing you can say is ‘thank you,’ “ Cohen told CSL Behring’s Head of R&D and Chief Medical Officer Bill Mezzanotte during a video interview.
Cohen believes the treatment helped him turn the corner, though his recovery was slow and difficult. He said he couldn’t stand up from his hospital bed without breaking into a sweat and sending his heartrate soaring. Cohen spent almost a month in the hospital, getting released on April 26. He initially needed a walker to get around and used assistive oxygen until July.
CSL Behring, as part of the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, in October launched a Phase 3 clinical trial that takes the concept of convalescent plasma to the next level. The alliance of leading plasma companies worked together on a “hyperimmune” treatment that contains concentrated antibodies to COVID-19.
Mezzanotte videotaped his interview with Cohen so it could be shared at a recent meeting of the CSL Behring’s top leadership.
“It’s a collaboration effort, all across medicine, all across industry,” Mezzanotte told Cohen. “We’re all in this together to help people like you and your family.”
Cohen thanked CSL Behring for its efforts to combat COVID-19 and says he’s grateful to be alive with his wife and sons. He says he cherishes simple things, like helping to coach his boys in hockey and soccer.
“I definitely reflect in my head how lucky I am to be here and see these things,” he said.
Learn more about Survivor Corps, one of the largest and fastest growing grassroots movements connecting, supporting, educating, motivating and mobilizing COVID-19 survivors.
Cohen’s remarkable story has received media attention. Find out more in a TV report and in Newsday.