New COVID-19 Treatment
Idaho Falls Community Hospital Offers Convalescent Plasma Treatment for COVID-19
Many people who become sick with COVID-19 produce antibodies in their blood to help protect them from being infected with the virus in the future. Infectious disease doctors at Idaho Falls Community Hospital are now treating some COVID-19 patients with an infusion of these antibodies in hopes of reducing the severity of their symptoms and to help them recover from the virus faster. The experimental convalescent plasma treatment is being run through the Mayo Clinic.
“Right now, we still do not have any drugs that have been specifically approved to treat COVID-19,” said Dr. Richard Nathan, an infectious disease doctor with Idaho Falls Community Hospital. “However, early test results show convalescent serum gives patients a fighting chance to beat the virus. If I was diagnosed with COVID-19, I would seek out this treatment.”
Idaho Falls Community Hospital has treated four patients with convalescent serum. So far, the patients have all shown positive results from the treatment. Dr. Nathan says the patients received other treatments, including dosages of the anti-inflammatory medicine Actemra and the anti-viral Remdesivir, so it is hard to pinpoint the exact role the convalescent serum played. Idaho Falls Community Hospital and many other hospitals across the country are reporting this type of information back to the Mayo Clinic to help them evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.
“Ultimately, we want to do our part to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19,” said Dr. Nathan. “But, right now, our biggest focus is making sure the patients who come to us because they are sick with the virus, make a full recovery and get back home to their families.”
While the effectiveness of convalescent serum is still being studied, researchers say preliminary results show many patients benefit from treatment. In some cases, it appears to boost patients’ ability to fight the virus, halt the viruses’ progression and improve patients’ overall recovery.
Idaho Falls Community Hospital is receiving convalescent plasma from the American Red Cross. The infusion treatment is given through an IV and takes approximately one hour. Doctors at Idaho Falls Community Hospital are monitoring all of their COVID-19 patients and evaluating if they would be a good candidate for this type of treatment.
Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 can choose to donate their blood to help provide convalescent plasma treatment for patients across the U.S. Individuals who are interested in donating blood should contact the American Red Cross.