KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Imagine being able to help someone suffering from the coronavirus with just a quick stick of a needle. It’s already happening in some areas and it’s about to become a reality in the metro as well.
Monday in St. Louis, three coronavirus patients were being treated with the plasma of patients who have recovered.
“It's a little emotional for me because when you're helping someone like that it's what we all should do, but I know everyone has their own lives. But I could not look myself in the mirror had I said no,” plasma donor Walter Lamkin said.
Lamkin was first in line to donate his plasma after recovering from the vicious virus. Doctors in St. Louis are currently treating three patients with his plasma. The hope is it will provide what the patients need to kick-start the production of their own antibodies and help them heal.
It’s about to happen in the metro too. The University of Kansas Health System has teamed up with the community blood center and the Mayo Clinic for the trial.
“We are actively in the preparations of the trial right now. Since day one, we’ve had a therapeutic group that’s been working with treatment algorithms,” Doctor Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said.
Doctors at KU addressed the topic Tuesday morning and while they are hopeful, there’s a lot we still don’t know.
“Also the timing of this, when can we give it, any time during the infection, or do we have to wait? So that’s something we’re also hoping to learn as well,” Hawkinson said.
“This is no claim of efficacy on our part because we don’t actually know if it works, so it’s certainly worth trying but it would be not fair to make any efficacy claims,” Doctor Jed Gorlin with the Community Blood Center said.
So who can help? For now, doctors say donors must be symptom-free of COVID-19 for at least two weeks and have documentation that you actually had the virus, not just symptoms.
The process itself takes about 45 minutes and in that time, they can collect enough for three doses for three different patients. If you want, you can go back weekly for four weeks and help even more people.
“If you have had the virus and now have the antibodies, then there should be nothing keeping you from helping somebody else,” Lamkin said.
If you’d like to help, there’s a lot to know before you can donate your plasma.