Kentucky man donates plasma in hopes of helping find coronavirus cure

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Blood Center and local hospitals are collecting convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus.

While there is currently no known treatment for COVID-19, KBC said it is possible that convalescent plasma could provide antibodies to fight the virus.

“Kentucky Blood Center is thrilled to be able to assist our hospital partners throughout the state in this cutting-edge medical treatment,” said KBC 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.”

KBC has already collected donations from a recovered patient in Lexington that was transfused to two different patients at Baptist Health Lexington. 

“To me it’s all worth it when you think of people getting of the ventilator and getting back to their families,” said Cynthiana, Kentucky native, Ray Young.

Young was the sixth person to test positive for COVID-19 in Kentucky since the first case was known back on March 6th. 

The 51-year-old said had no symptoms. 

“I wasn’t feverish, no runny nose, no body aches, no shortness of breath,” he explained.

The virus had spread through his church, which is why he got tested in the first place.

Young quarantined for 14 days, then got a call from Harrison Memorial Hospital about an experiment. 

“The hope was that that antibodies [from my plasma] would give them the ability to fight off the disease and get off the ventilators,” he said. “We did a lose a gentleman in our congregation in our church from this, and I knew if there was anything I was able to do to help out, I was going to.”

Doctors made sure Young tested negative for coronavirus twice before taking his plasma. 

Anyone who has been diagnosed can donate 14-28 days after their symptoms have resolved and they have had a second COVID-19 test with negative results. Potential donors must provide documentation of their original positive test.

Potential donors will also complete a blood donation health history questionnaire on the day of donation to qualify for blood donation. The plasma donation takes 1-2 hours. 

Anyone interested in donating can visit the registry here.

KBC has two Louisville locations in Middletown and Hillview. Donor center hours have extended through May 1 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Appointments are encouraged for social distancing. Donors can make an appointment online at kybloodcenter.org or through the phone at 800-775-2522.

RELATED: Louisville mayor encourages blood donation during COVID-19 pandemic

RELATED: COVID-19 survivors sought for plasma donations as FDA approves potential new treatment

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