TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- A person who recovers from the coronavirus develops antibodies in the blood, giving his or her body the ability to fight off the illness. The theory is those antibodies can be given to a different person to give him or her an immunity boost and help defeat the virus.
Hospitals around the country are beginning to use antibody treatments on coronavirus patients. Right now, The North Mississippi Medical Center is also participating in this new kind of “investigational” treatment, according to a press release from the North Mississippi Medical Center.
Vitalant in Tupelo is a blood services organization. Here, people are taking donations of plasma from people who have already recovered from the coronavirus.
Vitalant and the North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) have teamed up to provide this new treatment to coronavirus patients.
Doctors are participating in what a press release from NMMC called an "investigational" treatment that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
People who have recovered from the virus and meet some additional requirements can sign up to donate plasma to help others recover.
Professionals call the plasma with antibodies convalescent plasma.
Melinda Murphree of Vitalant said so far, early results of the treatment seem to be positive.
“The hospitals have reported pretty good results from what they have seen so far. We don’t have statistics in yet, but we have had verbally some good results,” Murphree said.
Murphree is a donor recruitment supervisor for Vitalant.
She said a few additional criteria convalescent plasma-donors must meet include being free of the virus for 14 days and have no virus symptoms.
She said demand is up for convalescent plasma. She added donors can be certain the donating process is safe.
“We always welcome donors to come in and donate so we can help the people that need it in the hospitals,” Murphree said.
This new treatment is experimental, according to Dr. Melinda Prewitt of Northeast Mississippi Medical Center.
“It is investigational, it is considered a study. It’s completely voluntary,” Prewitt said.
She said right now, hospitalized patients who meet certain criteria including being 18 years old, and having a condition serious enough to be hospitalized are able to receive the treatment, which is in the form of an injection.
She said it is too soon to tell if this is a breakthrough, but said positivity is powerful.
“We’re hopeful and optimistic about it, and we want to offer that to our patients,” Prewitt said.
She said they need help.
“We do need donors. We actually need people that have recovered.”
Prewitt and Murphree added getting and using the convalescent plasma is a team effort.
“Hopefully we can get that done,” Murphree said.
Anyone who has recovered from the virus and wants to donate convalescent plasma can visit Vitalant’s website here.