There has been a major step forward in the effort to potentially save the lives of those critically sick with COVID-19.
Several patients at hospitals in the state have begun treatment with blood plasma donated by those who successfully fought the virus.
“We’ve been symptom free and you know recovered for a few weeks now,” said Shawna Edwards.
Edwards tells us she and her husband are doing better after recently coming down with the coronavirus.
“We were on the fortunate side where we had a mild cough, dry and we really didn’t experience the high fevers. But just really extreme fatigue,” said Edwards.
Now they’re looking to help people who are seriously ill with COVID-19.
The couple is among those who developed antibodies fighting the coronavirus and after recovering will donate their blood plasma with those antibodies for a clinical trial at Trinity Health of New England.
“It can be potentially lifesaving for those who are receiving it,” said Dr. Danyal Ibrahim of Trinity Health of New England.
Dr. Ibrahim says this week they started the plasma treatment with three patients, with one at St. Francis in Hartford, another at St. Mary’s in Waterbury and a third at Johnson Memorial in Stafford Springs.
Now up to 45 people could take part in the program, which the FDA gave the okay to a couple of weeks ago.
“We’re giving it to patients who are critically ill in the ICU on a ventilator. And we give them the plasma. The plasma already has in it these antibodies ready to attack the virus,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
Patients could experience results within days.
With no vaccine or proven therapy to fight the disease, Trinity Health says the plasma transfusion has shown some initial success in other countries and it hopes what they learn here could help patients all over.
Edwards – who works at St. Mary’s – is happy to potentially be part of the solution and hopes others consider doing the same.
“Obviously it’s a personal choice but I would want them to know that potentially how it could really save lives and the benefits to others are really great,” said Edwards.
Results of the trial are expected in about a month.
If you had COVID-19, have recovered and are interested in donating plasma, you can contact the research team at 860-714-7129, by email COVID-19PlasmaStudy@trinityhealthofne.org or through their website.