Infirmary Health has launched a program that will use convalescent plasma donated by patients who’ve beaten COVID-19 to help heal those still struggling to fend off the highly-infectious disease.
According to a statement from Infirmary Health, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Mayo Clinic approved a clinical trial earlier this month that will allow the system to start using the donated plasma from recovered patients to treat those with severe complications from the disease.
Plasma taken from the blood of recovered patients can contain antibodies to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which can be used to assist those patients struggling to fight off the virus on their own.
The use of convalescent plasma isn’t new and has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, like SARS in 2003, the H1N1 influenza virus in 2009 and the MERS outbreak in 2012.
Infirmary Health says it has already screened more than 70 potential donors and identified 12 candidates willing to participate — including several of its own physicians.
Another 24 have agreed to donate plasma pending a negative test for COVID-19. According to the statement, one individual’s plasma donation can treat up to three COVID-19 patients, but those treatments would be reserved for the most critically ill.
“We are thrilled to launch the Convalescent Plasma Protocol at Infirmary Health,” Furhan Yunus, physician director at the Infirmary Cancer Care, said. “In many ways, we have relied on our community for support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, there is an opportunity for those who have had the virus to contribute potentially life-saving treatment to our patients.”
In addition to the convalescent plasma program, Infirmary Heath said its facilities are continuing to pursue new treatment opportunities and equipment donations including ventilators and personal protective equipment, to care for patients, members of its staff and the broader Mobile community.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).