Both Sioux Falls health systems are giving patients plasma transfusions containing antibodies from the blood of people who have recovered from coronavirus.
38-year-old Carin Yale is a busy working mom of four. With children ranging in age from six months to seven, she didn’t have time for COVID-19. Last month, she thought she was suffering from seasonal allergies until the cough came on.
“The fits would last at least three to five minutes–where I just couldn’t catch my breath and I’d keep coughing and I couldn’t stand up straight. My back muscles were sore; just so much coughing,” Yale said.
Carin doesn’t know how she caught the virus. She had been social distancing with her children. Now her biggest fear was giving it to her family.
“At first I was mostly scared my husband would catch it, because I needed him to take care of the kids,” Yale said.
However, she still wanted to nurse her baby, hoping her breast milk may contain antibodies. Doctors told her to be sure to wear a mask.
“The gentleman that called me from the Department of Health had one of his colleagues drop off a mask to my home mailbox. That meant a lot to me. I thought that was really cool.
Fortunately, no one else in the family has shown any symptoms and Carin is now back to normal and back to work at her administrative job at Avera.
When she heard about the opportunity for people who’ve recovered to donate plasma, she jumped at the chance.
“All four of my units were going into a patient,” Yale said.
Avera has now used donated plasma from recovered patients to treat 34 people in the hospital. Five were discharged after getting it, plus those in intensive care seem to be doing well.
Dr. Vinod Parameswaran: Typically it takes about 3-5 days for the plasma’s maximum benefit to be seen, where the antibodies in the plasma neutralize the virus.
Kennecke: So you’re optimistic; you’re feeling very optimistic.
Dr. Parameswaran: Yeah we’re seeing real results here.
Carin says it’s the most meaningful way that she can give back.
“It is a way to be grateful. I’m super grateful that I didn’t get sicker than I did. After having recovered, if I can help somebody else feel that grateful, then I am down 100 percent. I’m really, really lucky.”Carin Yale, plasma donor
Carin says it wasn’t a difficult process and she can’t wait to donate again. The soonest she can do that is May 4.
For more information on participating, call the Avera Center for Pediatric and Community Research at 605-504-3154 or email COVID19Plasma@avera.org