MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- Tidelands Health is joining a nationwide program looking to coronavirus survivors to help treat patients with the most severe cases of COVID-19.
“The average person is going to get this disease and do fairly well,” said Dr. Mitchell Devlin, Chief Quality Officer at Tidelands Health.
Tidelands Health is asking people in our area who have recovered from coronavirus to donate plasma which could be a hope of survival for critical patients.
“When a patient gets to the point that they are critically ill like that there is enough damage to the lungs that it makes it harder for that person to recover,” said Dr. Devlin.
Tidelands Health is coordinating with the Mayo Clinic for a nationwide research program approved by the FDA.
Doctors said those who have recovered from coronavirus have antibodies in their blood and by infusing their plasma into patients who are severly suffering from covid it may to help them kill the virus.
“There have already been people in other countries using this with results that are early on showing promise. That the program is really just starting now in the United States,” said Dr. Devlin.
A JAMA study shows five patients from China with severe COVID-19 infections recovered after undergoing this treatment. The century old treatment dates back to the Spanish flu. It was also used in other pandemics like MERS, SARS, and Ebola
Dr. Devlin said right now, the treatment would only given to patients who are in the ICU, on a ventilator, or in a life threatening stage of the virus.
“I don’t want patients that I want to be using this on. I want to have donors that are out there so that there is ample supply of this,” said Dr. Devlin.
The transfusions will not be able to begin until there is a good supply of plasma donated in our area.
“Each patient will only get one unit of plasma. It will also require having appropriate blood types because in order to receive it, you have to make sure that you are the same blood type as the person who is receiving it so that there are no reactions,” said Dr. Devlin.
Donations are being done through the Red Cross. If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate click here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19-patients.html