Arlington Heights COVID-19 patient tests negative for virus after new plasma treatment

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Less than a week ago, 54-year-old Martin Moreno could have died from COVID-19.

Now, the Arlington Heights man has tested negative for coronavirus twice.

"We are seeing improvements for his respiratory rate, improved oxygen saturation, and improved sense of well-being," said Dr. Guy Dugan, director of critical care at Alexian Brothers Medical Center.

Moreno took part in a new emergency trial of convalescent plasma therapy through the Mayo Clinic, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The treatment takes plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient and gives it to sick ones.

"These antibodies that are in the plasma of a recovered patient are targeted to that virus," said Dr. Janis Atkinson, medical director of the laboratory at AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital. "When transfused into a sick patient, they can attach to the virus and help the body's own immune system to destroy it."

Moreno's case is promising. He spoke through a translator just days after his plasma therapy.

"I'm feeling better and I'm building up my strength," he said.

But, doctors say more research is needed to measure the treatment's effectiveness. And for that, they need more plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.

"The problem that we're facing right now is that the demand is far greater than the supply," Atkinson said

So doctors and a recovering Martin Moreno are calling for donations.

"I ask that any potential donor just touch their heart. Just understand this is a new disease and that we just don't know. So anything we can do to help someone makes a big difference," Moreno said.

To donate plasma for the trial you have to have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 and be recovered for at least two weeks.

According to the Chicago Medical Society Metro Infectious Disease Consultants, you can help four coronavirus patients with one plasma donation.

Here's are options to donate:

The Chicago Medical Society is seeking blood donations from individuals who have recovered at a blood bank in your area.
Visit https://www.covid19chi.org/ for more information, or call (877) CMS-DOCS.

AMITA Health Clinical Research
Call 224-278-9127, or email ClinicalResearch@AMITAHealth.org.

Versiti
Visit https://www.versiti.org/ for more information.

American Red Cross
Visit https://www.redcross.org/ for more information.
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