Hospitals see positive results in COVID-19 patients treated with plasma from recovered donors

Updated: Apr. 29, 2020 at 4:04 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Some hospitals say they’re seeing encouraging results after treating COVID-19 patients with plasma from people who survived the virus.

Patients with some of the worst symptoms are receiving it at East Jefferson Hospital.

In some cases, doctors say they're seeing positive results within hours.

David Burns said he tested for COVID-19 on April 2, after suffering from a headache and fever.

"That was the last symptoms I had. My headache was gone, there was no fever when I got out there, and I felt great for the next week, so when they called me the next Thursday and told me I was positive, I was super surprised," Burns said.

He said his symptoms were mild, and his headache lasted one day, but called his doctor anyway.

“She said you’re over it bro. You had it for a day, happens. Most people get really really mild symptoms,” Burns said.

After recovering, he decided to look into plasma research.

"I figured I'd need a negative test to show that I was over it to get into the antibody study," Burns said.

Researchers working with East Jefferson General Hospital say they're seeing positive results from the study.

"They've given us blood and we've processed it at East Jefferson General Hospital, and then dispensed to the patients, and the majority of them, they're better, and so it's exciting to see this happen," Andrea Jeanfreau, MedPharmics Owner said.

In order to qualify, she says potential donors need to bring in a positive, and a negative test about two weeks later.

"We test them for both antibodies and to see if they're positive, nasal pharyngeal swab is positive. If negative, we send them over to the hospital. They have a blood bank over there," Jeanfreau said.

A donor recruiter at East Jeff says she's receiving calls every day

"In some studies and in some situations recently, it's been proven that one dose of this convalescent plasma has actually helped to turn around the medical conditions of some of these patients," Susan Persigo said.

She says one donation can help up to four patients.

"That one 200 ml bolus apparently has enough antiviral properties to tamper down the virus and help the patients in their recovery," Persigo said.

Burns said the experience is not much different from donating blood, and hopes other recovered patients will consider doing the same.

“I just think it’s such a lucky thing to have an opportunity to help in any way. Besides staying home and being really careful, wearing gloves and masks all the time, this felt like something really substantial,” Burns said.

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