Connect with us


Monroe medical centers experiment with Convalescent plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients; Plasma donors needed



MONROE, La. – As we wait for a vaccine, the FDA has given medical centers the ability to experiment with a method called convalescent plasma therapy.
It’s proven to work with other viruses and now Glenwood regional Medical Center and St. Francis are testing the method on COVID-19 patients.

Convalescent plasma therapy is a process using plasma from patients who have recovered from an infection to treat those with the same infection.

“It has been used to stop outbreaks of the measles, the horrible flu of 1917, it has also been used as recently on horrible viruses such as Ebola,” Dr. William Beebe MD, Chief of Medicine for Glenwood Regional Medical Center, said.

Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 have also developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood.

“The LifeShare forwards us that plasma and then we administer it to the patient with the hypothesis that the antibodies may help our current patient improve their condition,” Dr. John Bruchhaus with St. Francis Medical Center said.

Doctors say the process can be lengthy, but the outcome could be lifesaving. Glenwood and St. Francis Medical Centers have successfully obtained plasma from almost a dozen donors so far.

“Our success with the very, very ill people that have been on mechanical ventilation for 2-5 weeks has been mixed at best, but we believe we have seen improvement even with those patients,” Dr. Beebe said.

To continue this experiment, the right kind of plasma has to be donated.

“So in order to donate the plasma, you would have had to have had COVID-19, a positive test, then 14 days symptom free with a negative COVID test or 28 days symptom free and you don’t even need that negative test you just show up,” Jennifer Creel with Glenwood Regional Medical Center said.

“Our hope is for this difficult disease that the transfusion of the convalescant plasma helps patients that are accumulatively ill improve by improving their immunity and exposure to antibodies to assist them toget better,” Bruchhaus said.