Several North Texas hospitals are now participating in an experimental COVID-19 coronavirus treatment.
Some patients who have recovered are donating their plasma, which will be given to other coronavirus patients who are still sick. There's a strict vetting process for people who are involved.
The experimental treatment got underway last weekend on a patient on a ventilator at Texas Health Fort Worth. Officials say they are monitoring to see if the person improves.
“For somebody to be a COVID antibody donor he or she has to have been tested negative two occasions by the hospital that they are now negative for that infection. Then that person is identified as a candidate donor for therapeutic antibodies,” said Merlyn Sayers, CEO, Carter BloodCare.
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Sayers said the candidate donor must first be identified by his or her attending physician.
“They notify us of who those individuals are and what we do is we harvest the plasma from those candidate donors of COVID antibodies and return it to the hospital,” Sayers said.
The plasma is collected in a specialized bus located only at Carter BloodCare's Bedford location for now.
“Carter BloodCare has the equipment and expertise and the staff to be able to harvest plasma from that individual with potentially that curative antibodies,” Sayers said.
Collection takes about 45 minutes. That donor must also pass Carter BloodCare's stringent donation guidelines. There have been a handful of qualified donors so far.
The turnaround time is quick so it can get to COVID-19 patients in hospitals fighting for their lives.
“We really value our role,” Sayers said. “We’re proud to be able to be contributors.”