FAIRFAX, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - The global pandemic is causing massive economic and health crises across the country. For doctors and hospitals nationwide, a key issue is treatment.
Inova Fairfax Hospital has started a COVID-19 plasma program. Like many hospitals in the country, it is studying the impact of giving plasma from donors who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus to patients who are seriously ill from the virus.
Dr. Whitney Brown is a pulmonologist and the principal investigator for Inova Hospital's COVID-19 plasma program. The goal she says is to boost the immune systems of sick patients. Everything is still experimental, but they are looking for treatments that are showing promise.
“The basic concept is we’re taking plasma which is the liquid part of blood from people who have recovered from a confirmed case of COVID-19,” said Dr. Brown “We’re testing it for the presence of antibody’s and to make sure it’s safe for infusion into any sick recipients.”
Dr. Brown says Inova Fairfax Hospital is treating over 100 COVID-19 patients.
Plasma donors get a nasal swab and a temperature check in their cars to ensure they no longer not have COVID-19. Once they are found safe, they can donate plasma to one of the Inova blood donor service sites.
FOX 5 also spoke with plasma donor Matt Newy in Utah, who was diagnosed with coronavirus back on March 17. He’s now recovered and is a plasma donor there.
Matt says he feels donating his plasma is a way to fight back against a virus he was concerned was going to take his life.
“It was a little unnerving, if was like this experiment guinea pig right? I’d call my doctors they didn’t know how to treat it," said Matt.
He adds his reason for donating is that “eventually over time with this new research coming out on ways we can start treating this through these plasma donations which brings a lot of hope!”
Inova Fairfax has identified 50 potential plasma donors for their study.
Officials say that if you are an area resident who has recovered from COVID-19 and you want to donate plasma, you can contact them directly.