Plasma from COVID-19 survivor used in treatment at Baptist Health Lexington

COVID-19, Baptist Health Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. — On Sunday, Baptist Health Lexington used plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient as a potential treatment for two critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The treatment was fast-tracked over the weekend through a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Kentucky Blood Center.

“In an attempt to help our more critically ill COVID-19 patients we initiated an investigational compassionate plea FDA protocol using convalescent plasma therapy,” said Dr. Mark Dougherty, infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist at Baptist Health Lexington. “Dr. Firas Badin, medical director for Research, obtained FDA approval and Institutional Review Board approval. Dr. Badin and the Kentucky Blood Center worked quickly this weekend to set up the program.”

Approximately 700 milliliters of plasma was collected at the Kentucky Blood Center in a procedure similar to donating whole blood. Plasma from the recovered patient contained antibodies made by the immune system that are used to kill the COVID-19 virus. The hope is the transfused plasma might help the severely ill patients fight the virus.

“Kentucky Blood Center was thrilled to assist our partners at Baptist Health in this cutting-edge medical treatment,” said Kentucky Blood Center CEO Bill Reed. “Lifesaving is our business and we hope that this treatment option proves to be a new tool in the fight to save COVID-19 patients in Kentucky.”

This treatment is similar to ones used during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, and more recently the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic of 2009, and the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014. On March 24, the FDA facilitated the treatment under emergency investigational new drug application (EIND).

“We are committed to providing the best possible treatment for all of our patients. This treatment is a crucial step in our response to COVID-19 as the evidence emerges,” said Bill Sisson, president of Baptist Health Lexington.

This could not have been possible without the cooperation of a gracious Kentuckian who donated both his time and his plasma to help us try this treatment.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you may be contacted to see if you are a willing donor and meet the parameters.