Researchers are testing the use of donated blood as a treatment for people with severe COVID-19 disease and the treatment is now available locally. Mayo Clinic has approved the Williamsburg Regional Hospital (WHR) for a study for convalescent plasma treatment for patients with COVID-19.

WHR Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troy Gamble registered the hospital for the study. There are only three treatment modalities or methods at present shown to be potentially effective against COVID-19. Gamble said qualifying patients must be 18 or older, have a laboratory confirmed diagnosis of the COVID-19 virus, have been admitted to a hospital and have severe or life-threatening symptoms. At present, the hospital has not admitted a patient confirmed with COVID-19.

COVID-19 is an antigen, or foreign body that our body reacts to by producing an antibody to kill the virus. Plasma is collected from people who have recovered from the virus and used to treat patients with advanced illness. The patient is transfused with the convalescent donor’s plasma, which contains antibodies that may lessen the severity of disease.

The goal of the research is to determine if the treatment can improve the chance of recovery for people with severe symptoms and to test whether it can help people who are moderately sick from getting worse. The treatment is being used across the country and results are positive. If you’ve had and recovered from COVID-19, consider donating blood through the American Red Cross. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/SC.

Mayo Clinic is nationally recognized for quality more often than any other health care organization. Mayo Clinic was recently awarded a $26 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. According to the website, the federal support will help cover the cost of collecting and distributing the convalescent plasma, increase patient access, and support the scientific and regulatory infrastructure to operate the program. Mayo Clinic serves as the central Institutional Review Board to oversee the Expanded Access Program.