Floyd Medical Center is participating in a study with Minnestota-based Mayo Clinic to test a possible treatment for patients with COVID-19
The study focuses on taking plasma from people who have recovered from the virus and giving it to patients who are currently ill. Floyd is the first hospital in the state to participate in the study with the Mayo Clinic, said Dr. Matt McClain, a local radiologist who spearheaded the effort.
“I had an interest and read quite a bit about the use of convalescent plasma in the treatment in China for coronavirus and also for the use of convalescent plasma in recent history with Ebola, MERS and SARS,” McClain said.
He approached Floyd Medical Center’s Institutional Review Board, which approved the idea.
“I am so pleased that we are participating in this study,” said Sheila Bennett, Executive Vice President and Chief of Patient Services at Floyd. “I am hoping this partnership with Mayo Clinic provides us with a way to help our community.”
Two COVID-19 patients, both on ventilators, received plasma transfusions Thursday night. They had no immediate adverse effects, McClain said Friday, but it was too early to determine if the treatment is working.
“We are hoping the patients either recover faster or we reduce their chance of dying,” said Dr. Daniel Valancius, who heads Floyd’s Hospitalist program and is working with McClain on the treatment.
“When we had our first patient Dr. McClain really felt like this might be a treatment option that we wanted to provide for the community,” Valancius said. “He asked me if we would be willing to be involved and are interested. I, of course, said yes.”
McClain has set up a nonprofit to help find donors and possible patient matches. Since the treatment does feature a blood transfusion, donors and patients have to be compatible. A website has also been created – Plasmatx.org.
“I think we are going to have an outpouring of support from the patients who have recovered,” said Valancius. “We are going to be actively reaching out to them. I think we should really be proud that this is cutting edge. This is not offered just anywhere.”