Plasma check

The Greater Rome Board of Realtors gather behind Dr. Kirk Kizziah (front row from left), Dr. Bill Harbin, Dr. Matt McClain, Bill Temple and Dr. Gary Voccio during the presentation of their $2,500 donation to Plasma Therapy, a local physicians group involved in clinical studies of convalescent plasma.

The Greater Rome Board of Realtors made a $2,500 donation to Plasma Therapy, a local nonprofit led by Rome radiologist Dr. Matt McClain.

Bill Temple, president of the realtors group, said they wanted to do something to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to help Plasma Therapy was not a hard one to make.

McClain said the project has been able to deliver a significant amount of convalescent plasma to people for use as part of the COIVD-19 treatment regimen. Convalescent plasma comes from people who have already been infected by the coronavirus.

“We’ve registered almost 20 people over the last three days,” McClain said.

Almost 100 COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the infection have participated in the program over the last month.

“Unfortunately it’s not a guaranteed home run, it’s not a miracle cure,” McClain said. “But there’s a lot of evidence that indicates it’s providing some benefit along with other drugs that you’ve heard in the news.”

Temple said the Realtors took a look at what was going on in the community, what was receiving assistance from others and it came to light that McClain and his team were doing some really great work.

“Some of the money is coming from our board and some of it is coming from a grant from the Georgia Association of Realtors,” Temple said.

The plasma therapy coupled with remdesivir and dexamethasone, tocilizumab and anti-coagulation drugs have fallen into what has almost become a standard COVID-19 regimen, according to McClain.

He said Plasma Therapy would use the money from the Board of Realtors to help get accurate information out to attract additional donors.

“Our role is to provide good solid information, apolitical, to support therapies like this,” McClain said.

He said the need for a consistent supply of convalescent plasma is expected to last all the way through 2021.

Local health care providers funnel prospective donors through the Blood Assurance office in Rome, which supplies both local hospitals with the lifesaving plasma.

McClain said that anyone whose COVID-19 symptoms have resolved for a minimum of 14 days needs to be a donor. The 14-to 21-day window after the termination of symptoms and treatment appears to be the ideal time for a donor.

“We’ve delivered a remarkable supply of doses for the size of our community,” McClain said.

The daily local inventory ranges between zero and 32 doses. More than 30 patients have been treated for COVID-19 in the two Rome hospitals on each of the last several days.

The physician said both Floyd and Redmond medical centers have been supportive in referring their patients who have recovered from the infection.

A significant number of the donations have been used by patients in the local hospitals, but McClain said that, as with blood donations, the doses ultimately go to where the most pressing need is on any given day.

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