Research is proving convalescent plasma can help those that have COVID-19 recover faster. However, Ballad Health is having to outsource plasma from other regions due to a lack in local donations, but one Northeast Tennessee native is making the most of an unfortunate situation.
In early March, Chris Miller traveled to Middle Tennessee to help with tornado recovery efforts. After returning from that trip, something was wrong. “I had two or three days of feeling kind of crummy,” says Chris Miller who tested positive for the coronavirus. “Fever, aches, chills, runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.” Miller was lucky and made a quick recovery. But he felt the itch to give back.
“I had read quite a bit about plasma donations prior to the clinical trials at Marsh and Ballad is engaged in,” says Miller. “I was really excited when I heard about that because that gave us a local option.” Since recovering, Miller donates convalescent plasma regularly.
Marsh Regional Blood Center recently started offering free antibody testing. It comes as Ballad Health partnered with the Mayo Clinic to conduct a national coronavirus disease research study.
In an effort to learn more about COVID-19, ETSU and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center are teaming up to collect blood samples from those that recovered from the virus.
To qualify for the research study, participants must be at least 18 years old, be in recovery for more than six weeks from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, sign an informed consent form, submit to a blood draw, and answer some health related questions. Participants don’t need to be a veteran to participate.
“We’re never going to really understand this virus unless we study the people that’ve had it,” says Dr. Jonathan Moorman, Professor of Infectious Diseases at ETSU Health. “I don’t think this is something you can do in a laboratory without humans.”
ETSU Health says the typical appointment takes less than 30 minutes and participants will receive a $25 Walmart gift card.
Miller is advocating for those that have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma. “It was a good opportunity to give back and take something that was not an overly positive experience and use it to help other people,” says Miller.
Call to Action: For further details or to set up an appointment to discuss participation in the research study, contact ETSU Health at (423) 930-8337, ext. 132. For more information about Marsh Regional, click here.