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Stormont Vail participates in Mayo Clinic’s Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program

Stormont Vail Hospital (July 8, 2020)
Stormont Vail Hospital (July 8, 2020)(Joseph Hennessy)
Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 11:34 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Stormont Vail Health participated in the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program.

Stormont Vail Health says convalescent plasma is the most promising treatment available for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. It said Dr. Hassan Taha, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, was instrumental in getting the hospital involved in the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program.

“I feel like we are on the right track providing such a promising treatment to our community in Kansas,” says Dr. Taha.

Stormont Vail said it recently enrolled its 56th hospitalized patient with COVID-19 in the program. It said in the past week, the Mayo Clinic announced its intent to discontinue enrollment in the EAP as the Food and Drug Administration authorized an Emergency Use Authorization of convalescent plasma. It said that means patients ill with COVID-19 may be treated with convalescent plasma, if appropriate.

According to Stormont Vail, the FDA has the authority to issue Emergency Use Authorizations in response to public health threats from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense and can allow unapproved medical products to be sued to treat serious or life-threatening diseases such as COVID-19. It said convalescent plasma continues to be evaluated in traditional clinical trials but is now more widely available to patients.

“Fifty-six is a great number. However, I hope we use this resource available to us more frequently and provide this promising treatment to those with life-threatening disease or those at risk for life-threatening disease,” Dr. Taha said. Our patients who received the treatment reported few adverse reactions, and those who received it early experienced fast and quick recoveries, he added.

Stormont Vail said a retrospective analysis released by the Mayo Clinic, given to the FDA before the change to Emergency Use Authorization, showed convalescent plasma signals of efficacy are associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality. It said it has been linked to reduced seven-day mortality for patients infused within three days of the COVID-19 diagnosis. It said similar trends were reported at 30-day mortality. It said the data included 35,000 patients with Stormont Vail patients included.

Dr. Taha said the criteria for hospitalized patients to receive convalescent plasma is simple. He said criteria is as follows:

  • Those at risk of developing severe disease, based on age and underlying comorbid conditions.
  • Those with severe life-threatening diseases.

Dr. Taha said the current data and literature shows that the most benefit is when plasma is transfused within three days of a COVID-19 diagnosis. He noted those at Stormont Vail who improved and responded best were patients who received the treatment early in their illness.

Stormont Vail said several of its first patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and received the convalescent plasma treatment later donated plasma after their recovery. it said patients that have recovered from COVID-19, whether hospitalized or with less severe symptoms, can potentially donate plasma and are encouraged to contact the Community Blood Center of Kansas at 816-968-4081 or visit savealifenow.org.

The full Stormont Vail Health COVID-19 update can be found on its website.

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