AnMed using survivor plasma to battle virus

PICKENS — The blood of COVID-19 survivors may be able to help those battling the disease recover more quickly, and the health system that operates Cannon Hospital in Pickens is among those using the technique as the pandemic continues across America.

AnMed Health is part of the Mayo Clinic-led national Convalescent Expanded Access Program to use plasma from COVID-19 survivors to help critically ill COVID-19 patients recover.

The donated plasma is rich in antibodies that might help those patients fight the virus. As of last Wednesday, three AnMed Health patients had been treated with convalescent plasma.

“We have already started treating patients with convalescent plasma, but it is too early to determine the effects,” said Dr. Michael Seemuller, AnMed Health Physician Network Services chair of quality and safety committee and medical director at AnMed Health Wren Family Medicine. “We are using plasma as well as other treatments like antiviral medication while we partner with major academic centers to stay on the cutting edge of treating this disease. We constantly re-evaluate our treatment strategies to determine what is best for our patients, and convalescent plasma has been an integral part of the treatment algorithm we are bringing to our community.”

“Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria,” added Dr. Syed Malik of AnMed Health Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. “Further, individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days before they donate, or alternatively have no symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation and have a negative lab test for active COVID-19 disease.”

People who have had COVID-19 can make an appointment with The Blood Connection to donate their plasma. Appointments can be made by calling The Blood Connection at (864) 751-1168.