North Mississippi Health Services is working with Vitalant, a blood collection organization, to work with people in the northeastern part of the state who have completely recovered from COVID-19 and may actually have the immune boosting antibodies in their plasma known as “convalescent plasma” that studies are now showing may help critically ill COVID-19 patients. This FDA-sponsored investigation includes emergency use of the investigational blood product containing antibodies that possibly can help patients fight the virus.
COVID-19 in Mississippi & New Governor’s Executive Order
Presently, there are 38,567 cases of COVID-19 reported in Mississippi as the Department of Health carefully monitors the situation while issuing policies such as social distancing and executing on the Governor’s recent executive order 1507 requiring certain counties to practice “enhanced safety protocols,” such as the use of a mask or face covering in public plus limits on social gathering commencing July 13, 2020. Counties under the new order include Claiborne, De Soto, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Quitman, Rankin, Sunflower, Washington and Wayne.
This effort has strict inclusion criteria. A prospective donor of convalescent plasma must have a prior COVID-19 diagnosis backed by a laboratory test documentation or a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as well as additional eligibility requirements. Stephen Southworth, MD, chairs the North Mississippi Health Services’ Institutional Review Board (IRB), reports that although an “investigational” treatment (meaning not approved by the FDA yet), he commented to the local newspaper called the Daily Journal that “early results are promising.”
This is part of the national study TrialSite has covered sponsored by Mayo Clinic and Dr. Michael Joyner. It has represented a major effort and has produced results. Hence, the national protocol for the entire study is managed out of the Mayo Clinic, but had to be locally reviewed by the NMHS IRB (e.g. Dr. Southworth).
About North Mississippi Health Services
North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS) services 24 counties in North Mississippi and northwest Alabama. NMHS is dedicated to being the provider of best patient and family centered care. Headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, has won part quality awards as has its flagship hospital. NMHS connects patients and their families with convenient access to care that is cost efficient and of the highest quality. From acute and diagnostic care to emergency services and participation in research.
Call to Action: If you are interested in donating convalescent plasma? Please follow the Vitalant process for donors who must first visit the website here.