“This is a very interesting development,” Ballad Health Chief Clinical Officer Amit Vashist told a news conference on Thursday. “I truly believe, and our team of doctors believes, that this could be a potential game-changer in our struggle against COVID-19.”
According to Mayo Clinic, people who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies against diseases in their blood, which doctors call plasma recovery.
Conducted in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, this research will involve taking plasma recovered from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing it into patients with life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
Evan Kulbacki, a pathologist and medical director of the Marsh Regional Blood Center, said his hope was that these antibodies would neutralize the virus and help COVID-19 patients recover.
Request for donations
The system will collect plasma through Marsh.
“I beg you at this time: If you know someone who has had a positive test for (COVID-19) and has recovered, or if you yourself have done that, if you can ask them to contact the Marsh Regional Blood Center to find out if they will qualify for donations for therapies that might change this game, it will be very appreciated, “Kulbacki said.
He added that one contribution could be shared and used between two or three COVID-19 patients.
Kulbacki said people who had had a positive and documented COVID-19 test and were asymptomatic for 28 days could contact Marsh about donations.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been without symptoms for 14 to 28 days can contact Marsh, but need to do a negative test before donating.
Patients who currently have COVID-19 or have not recovered for 14 days must wait until day 14 before considering a donation, but Kulbacki said patients who were appropriate within that time period could contact the blood center to express interest.
Noting that there is currently no vaccine and no “very effective” treatment for COVID-19, Kulbacki said many studies are ongoing at the moment and preliminary data from a study on plasma recovery has shown some potential in treating life-threatening people. soul. disease.
“Although the data is still preliminary, this is the only modality we have to combat COVID-19 at this time,” he said.
Kulbacki said convalescent plasma has been used as a treatment in the past for diseases such as the Spanish Flu, SARS, Ebola Virus and H1N1.
“This is not a new therapy, but has been used in other diseases when there is no cure, therapy or vaccine that is very good,” said Kulbacki.
Each patient who chooses to receive treatment and meets the criteria – they have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and is seriously ill – will receive 200 milliliters of convalescent plasma at the specified infusion rate.
Therapy depends on donations
Ballads will start treating people once they get enough plasma. Donations will begin at the Marsh Regional Blood Center site in Kingsport with plans to expand the collection to Bristol and Johnson City in the future. The telephone number for the Kingsport collection site is (423) 408-7500.
On Thursday morning, Ballad Health treated 15 patients with COVID-19, and the system continued to have 300 beds available for potential COVID-19 cases.
The Tennessee Department of Health reported 183 new cases of corona virus in the state on Thursday. The total cases are now 6,262, up from 6,079 on Wednesday. The state also reported a total of 141 deaths, which rose six out of 135 on Wednesday.
The state also reported 691 hospitalizations on Thursday, an increase of 28, and 2,786 recoveries, an increase of 590.
Locally, Washington County has seen a total of 46 cases, Sullivan 45, Carter 5, Unicoi 1, Johnson 2 and Greene 29.