Lisa Hardin of Blythewood was the first COVID-19 patient to receive convalescent plasma treatment.
The 56 year-old nurse told the story of her illness and recovery in an online press conference hosted by Prisma Health.
Hardin was officially diagnosed on Good Friday, and her symptoms progressed so aggressively that she went to the hospital on Saturday.
She agreed to try the convalescent plasma treatment and had a rapid recovery.
The full audio of her story is available below.
Convalescent plasma treatment uses plasma donated by someone who has had COVID-19 and recovered.
Their antibodies then help fight COVID-19 in a patient who receives the donation.
The donors must be cleared from COVID-19 for at least 28 days before they can donate.
Hardin is grateful to her donor from Chattanooga, Tennesee.
"If I was sitting in front of my donor, since I am COVID negative now I would absolutely grab them around the neck and hug them," Hardin said.
Hardin looks forward to being able to donate plasma herself, counting down the days until May 12 which is her 28 days clear mark.
Divya Ahuja, MD, specialist in infectious diseases at Prisma Health and clinical associate professor of Internal Medicine at the UofSC School of Medicine in Columbia, treated Hardin and has high hopes for the convalescent plasma treatment.
"Hopefully as time goes on there will be more evidence based treatment," Dr. Ahuja said.
Helmut Albrecht, MD, specialist in infectious diseases at Prisma Health and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the UofSC School of Medicine in Columbia, reports this treatment is part of a national trial through the Mayo Clinic.
It has been a popular trial; Dr. Albrecht reports they expected 200 to sign up but 20,000 signed up.
Dr. Albrect worked with Dr. Ahuja over Easter weekend to provide this treatment to Hardin.
"Ms. Hardin was not our guinea pig; she was our pioneer in this," Dr. Albrecht said.
Robert Rainer, MD, helped bridge the collaboration with The Blood Connection, blood bank pathologist for Prisma Health and medical director for The Blood Connection, said one donation can help up to four people.
"As antibody testing comes up, I believe we can expand the donor pool," Dr. Rainer said.
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