Recovered COVID-19 patient plasma being used to help other patients infected
INDIANA - As coronavirus cases continue to rise, doctors across the country are starting to use a new therapy to help heal the growing number of patients!
The Versiti team is taking the plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and using it to help heal patients currently infected with the virus. It’s important to note this is not a cure but a therapy, one of many doctors are already using.
So anyone who has had COVID-19 can now donate their plasma to help heal others infected with the virus.
But how does it work?
“We’re taking a person who’s been infected, who’s actually had an infection with COVID-19 and then they have recovered and part of that recovery process is making their own antibodies against the coronavirus,” Dr. Dan Waxman, the Senior Medical Director for Versiti said.
By collecting their plasma, Dr. Waxman says they are also collecting the antibodies. They can transfuse that into a patient that has an active infection but doesn’t have those antibodies.
“By giving this plasma with premade antibodies in it then that will then fight the infection for the patient,” he said.
Thursday was the first time in Indiana and SW Michigan that recovered COVID-19 patients are donating, but there are strict requirements.
“We need someone who’s been diagnosed and has had a positive test for COVID-19,” he said. “Then we need 28 days, post-resolution, no fever no cough. Then we can take them. If it’s less 14-27 days, we need a second test to show them that they’re negative.”
The donation process takes less than an hour and the plasma can actually be used to help multiple patients.
But this therapy is nothing new.
“This has been tried in other types of outbreaks so in Ebola when the Ebola outbreak was, there were,” he said. “It actually was an Indiana doctor who treated patients over in Africa, became very very ill with Ebola, recovered and his plasma was actually collected to use on patients.”
He said China is currently using this therapy and the U.S. is starting to now as well.
But does it work in the states already using the therapy?
“The preliminary data is showing that when you transfuse plasma to patients it can help. It does work. We need a lot more patients to evaluate,” he said.
Since we haven’t seen nearly as many patients here in Indiana compared to other coastal states, there aren’t a lot of eligible donors.
However, Dr. Waxman said that in the coming weeks hopefully, the South Bend Medical Foundation will also be able to find a donor.
So if you are recovering from COVID-19 right now, you can call 1-866-702-HOPE (866-702-4673) or go to http://www.versiti.org/covid19plasma