Baptist Memorial using antibody treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients

WATCH: Baptist Memorial using antibody treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Baptist Memorial Health Care is now using the antibodies of recovered COVID-19 patients to treat those who are fighting the virus.

The hospital was approved to do the testing by the U.S Food and Drug Administration Tuesday night.

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It is a big development in the fight against COVID-19

Hospital staff told FOX13 the first treatment could happen as early as Wednesday night.

One of the best options for seriously ill COVID-19 patients now relies on those who have recovered from it.

“We certainly have some history giving antibodies that we know helps fight this infection from someone who’s recovered from it and typically we expect to have a high antibody type in their blood and plasma,” said Baptist Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Stephen Threlkeld. “We give that to somebody who needs a better fight against this virus and we hope that will provide it.”

After receiving FDA approval, Threlkeld said they started reaching out to patients who have recovered from the illness to see if they will help.

He told FOX13 the next step is adequate antibody testing, which includes recovered patients taking another viral test.

“So that becomes negative and they’ve become asymptomatic for a couple of weeks, the presumption is that they have adequate antibody production so we need to ramp up that capability that will make it easier for us to move ahead,” he said.

FOX13 asked the Shelby County Health Department for the number of recoveries and a spokesperson said they didn’t have that data.

But Threlkeld said they’ve been getting some patients willing to help.

“We’re just getting into the period now where enough people are being to recover from this and we’ve seen enough people sick enough to document the infection,” said Threlkeld. “There may be a lot more people in the community who could do this but they just don’t know they’ve been infected. There again comes the push that we’re making, and other people are making for testing.”

Threlkeld said, at this point, if you haven’t had a documented case of COVID-19, you can’t call the hospital, offer to get tested and donate your antibodies. But he said that could change soon.

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