Hospitals seeing success after infusing plasma in COVID-19 patients

Hospitals are using plasma from former COVID-19 patients to help current ones fight the virus.

Posted: May 17, 2020 6:27 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Hospitals are using plasma from former COVID-19 patients to help current ones fight the virus.
According to doctors, this kind of therapy has brought positive results when fighting other infectious diseases.  

Thomas Yawn is a COVID-19 survivor in Tippecanoe County. He is the first to donate his plasma under the COVID-19 Program offered at CSL Plasma, a blood donation center located in West Lafayette. 

"Being sick and being in quarantine gave me a lot of time to think about things and if I can help a person in doing this, even if it's just one person, it's worth it," said Yawn.

He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Mar. 31.

"I think it was just a lucky draw that my immune system dropped a little bit from having a common cold and I just got around the right person... just unlucky," said Yawn.

After his diagnosis, he spent 17 days in quarantine at home. He said he didn't suffer from severe symptoms and he stopped feeling any symptoms after Apr. 10. Yawn has been donating tissue at CSL Plasma for around nine months, when he learned his COVID-19 antibodies could help current patients fighting the virus, he didn't hesitate to give.

"It just made me that lucky bottle that helps find something that helps this go away," said Yawn.

According to Dr. Nicholas Barros Baertl, IU Health's Medical Director of Transplants and Infectious Diseases, one regular-sized adult patient can donate about three to four units of plasma. This is enough to help at least two regular-sized adult patients. The purpose of this therapy is to minimize symptoms while speeding up the recovery process. Dr. Baertl said many patients are seeing success.

"We have done about 50 treatment patients at IU in downtown and about 25 more in other outside downtown IU Health systems," said Baertl. "The vast majority of the patients are improving."

Dr. Baertl said this is a study. Right now it's too early to determine if using recovered COVID-19 patient plasma is the direct cause of these improvements, however, there's very little to no health risks in trying it.

"Less than one percent of the patients that receive convalescent plasma have any reaction what so ever and most of their reactions are very simple to treat," said Baertl. "We have used convalescent plasma for multiple other infections including influenza and SARS during the pandemic earlier in the century so there is some scientific background for this new type of therapy."

Dr. Baertl said using plasma from recovered patients during the H1N1 and SARS outbreak did show a success. He's confident they'll see similar results during the COVID-19 outbreak. He said the plasma transfusion is meant to be a temporary solution as we wait for a vaccine.

"Researchers around the globe are doing incredible work," said Baertl. "However, to produce a safe product that has been proven to be safe, it will take at least half a year to be available. And to be proven effective, couple more months at least, so probably the earliest would be early 2021 to be available to some of the public. That is if the normal key safety features that go into the rigorous vaccine trials take effect."

Yawn started donating his plasma the second week of May, and he can donate twice a week. You must be recovered from the virus for at least 28 days before being eligible to donate. You can find more information on how to donate here.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 31°
Kokomo
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 26°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 26°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 31°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 28°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 28°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 33°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 26°
A sunny and mild day is expected! Changes arrive through the weekend
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1112735

Reported Deaths: 17652
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1450832237
Lake721711247
Allen66684881
Hamilton50838487
St. Joseph49493645
Elkhart40079546
Vanderburgh34553496
Tippecanoe30654274
Johnson27559465
Hendricks26181383
Porter25556386
Madison21002452
Clark20146278
Vigo18966309
LaPorte17115261
Delaware16666300
Howard16666313
Monroe16556220
Kosciusko14216167
Hancock13061185
Bartholomew12894190
Warrick12152190
Wayne12036268
Floyd11968226
Grant11901242
Morgan10360192
Boone9815122
Noble9234122
Henry9142167
Marshall9062147
Dearborn8923100
Dubois8815139
Shelby8210129
Cass8134127
Lawrence8018185
DeKalb7761108
Jackson764093
Huntington7601113
Gibson7074118
Montgomery7052123
Harrison6923100
Knox6896115
Steuben665889
Miami6563111
Whitley655360
Putnam641584
Clinton624579
Wabash6182111
Jasper610892
Jefferson5796104
Ripley555893
Adams540581
Daviess5062117
Scott488280
Wells4814104
White475669
Greene4680100
Clay462862
Decatur4597110
Jennings448867
Fayette448396
LaGrange425990
Posey407544
Randolph3908107
Washington389856
Fountain373464
Fulton362474
Spencer360747
Starke353574
Owen351277
Sullivan347554
Orange329172
Jay328850
Rush306832
Carroll294239
Franklin290844
Perry288553
Vermillion282758
Tipton250066
Parke249630
Pike247244
Blackford221244
Pulaski208559
Newton181752
Brown176150
Crawford168829
Benton166517
Martin151820
Switzerland147212
Warren135316
Union121016
Ohio92113
Unassigned0592

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events