Avera Medical Minute: Avera taking part in Plasma Therapy

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 10:14 AM CDT
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People who have recovered from COVID-19, could help others who have it, and are in a dire situation.

Avera has joined a coalition of more than one-thousand hospitals across the country, to test the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy as a treatment for some cases of COVID-19.

Erik Thorstenson has more on the potential of this treatment, and how it works in tonight's Avera Medical Minute.

Erik: Dr. Jawad Nazir, an infectious disease specialist from Avera joins us now. Let's talk about plasma infusion in treatment for COVID-19 patients. Doctor could you tell us how this works?

Dr. Nazir: As you know the COVID-19 is the disease caused by the virus. COVID-2 stands for for severe acute respiratory syndrome so one of the major complication of this wild infection is to cause respiratory failure requiring patients to go on ventilators and die you know. There has been historic evidence previously with several infections you know including measles, pandemic influenza, a Middle Eeastern coronavirus, along with SARS. When they use the plasma which is rich in the anti-bodies. Now these anti-bodies are the proteins that fight infections whenever someone gets an infection. These anti-bodies fight the infection that get an immune response which can clear the virus in your body."

Erik: So what is the process for someone who has had COVID-19 to become a plasma donor?

Dr. Nazir: "So I think our hospital is developing that process. They have a list of patients who were positive, discharged or are in outpatient settings. Also some health workers who got the infection. They have developed a process to contact them."

Erik: And what is the criteria to receive a plasma donation?

Dr. Nazir: "That's a great question, so we are using the criteria that is used by the Mayo Clinic's protocol. So that requires meeting certain elements. For example someone who has COVID-19 infection, and has some evidence of severe disease. For example if their respiratory rate is very high or they are developing respiratory failure, or in the judgement of the physician, certain patients may have multiple conditions like diabetes. So in the judgement of the physician if they think the patient can progress very quickly to get those complications."

Erik: So this is only for patients who are having severe symptoms due to the virus?

Dr. Nazir: Yes severe symptoms or signs of any lab indications due to graphic findings. Or you know based on physician judgement that you are likely to progress in that direction also."

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