BALTIMORE — LifeBridge Health has joined a national program investigating a new treatment that could help severely ill COVID-19 patients.
The FDA launched the convalescent plasma initiative earlier this month. The Mayo Clinic is leading the effort, which is giving hospitals across the country another potential weapon to use in the fight against COVID-19.
The treatment takes plasma from people who recovered from the virus, using their antibodies to help patients still recovering from the virus a chance to fight it off.
Medical experts believe it could be a game changer. It’s also now providing a glimmer of hope for families across the country, which in some cases have helped some patients recover.
Sinai Hospital, who received approval to do the treatment last week, performed its first four plasma transfusions on Wednesday and Thursday. The hospital is set to do its fifth transfusion on Friday.
“Anything that becomes available that has the potential to help can give families and patients a lot of hope,” said Dr. Jennifer Berkeley, the director of neuro critical care at Sinai Hospital.
However, she says it’s too early to know how effective this treatment can be. She says at least one of the patients who received a plasma transfusion is showing signs of recovery. Dr. Berkeley says the condition of the others is unclear.
“We don’t have data yet to say that patients who get it necessarily will do better than patients who don’t, but there’s a lot of signs and rationale to believe it can be very helpful.”
Brandon Aquino, 33, is from Tennessee. He’s a COVID-19 survivor, who recovered from the virus last month.
After hearing about the new program, he made it his mission to help anyone he can, especially after he learned he was a universal plasma donor. He says doctors told him he has “liquid gold” because he can donate to anyone he can.
While sharing his story, families of COVID-19 patients from across the country have reached out asking him to donate to their loved one.
So far, he’s donated enough plasma to help at least four people. One of the patients his plasma went to was a man from Baltimore.
“All you have to do is stick out you arm and you can help change someone’s life,” Aquino said.
Aquino, who is out of a job because of Tennessee’s stay-at-home order, has been using this off time to help as many people as he can.
He’s urging survivors to donate to give families the glimmer of hope they so desperately need.
“If someone told you , hey, i just need you to stick out your arm and you can help four people possibly have a chance at fighting this virus, you will do it in a heartbeat.”
If you’re interested in donating and to learn more about the program and treatment, you can visit click this line here