Jersey Shore University Medical Center Treating COVID-19 Patients with Convalescent Plasma

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As a leading New Jersey academic medical center and member of Hackensack Meridian Health, Jersey Shore University Medical Center is able to provide its patients access to existing clinical trials and the latest medical techniques in a variety of specialties. Currently, the medical center is recruiting individuals who have been clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 or have laboratory test results showing they have COVID-19 antibodies to donate their blood and potentially assist patients in their recovery from the virus.

“As the body fights any virus it forms immune-boosting antibodies to fight off the illness,” said Elliot Frank, M.D., MBA, FACP, FIDSA, medical director, Quality & Outcomes, Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Transfusing plasma from recovered patients which contains COVID-19 antibodies may improve patients’ chances of surviving this infection. “We are using the convalescent plasma, under the FDA’s emergency investigational new drug process, in the experimental treatment of hospitalized patients to assist in their recovery.”

“Jersey Shore University Medical Center has treated more than 100 patients with convalescent plasma to date,” said Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP, regional president, Hackensack Meridian Health, Southern Market. “I’m pleased we’re able to provide the communities we serve with advanced medicine, especially at this time, at our comprehensive and growing academic medical center.”

To be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, individuals must have a prior COVID-19 diagnosis documented by a laboratory test or a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and meet the usual eligibility requirements for routine blood donation. Community members who meet the criteria and are interested in donating should call 732-776-4406, text 732-232-6159, or email JSUMCPlasma@Hackenackmeridian.org.

Sherry Karpe, of West Long Branch, completed the screening process in May and will donate her blood in June for COVID-19 patients. Sherry contracted the virus in early March, and although she didn’t need to be hospitalized, she was seriously ill for more than two weeks before recovering.

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“At times it felt as if an elephant was standing on my chest, making it difficult to breathe and I just felt terrible, like the flu but worse,” said Sherry, who is a laboratory outreach manager at the academic medical center. “My parents also became ill from COVID-19 and needed to be hospitalized. It was such a terrible ordeal, I don’t want another family to go through what we did. That’s why I decided to donate. If I could help even one other family, by assisting a loved one in their recovery, it would be worth it.”

These efforts compliment other COVID-19 research efforts across the HMH network to advance diagnosis and treatment of COVID 19 including the development of a novel test for the virus developed by the Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation.

“Our research has taken on an even greater importance during the pandemic and has helped provide our clinical teams the necessary resources to rapidly respond to this virus,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, president of Hackensack Meridian Health’s Northern Market, and chief research officer of the network. For more information, visit hmh-cdi.org.

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(PHOTO CAPTION: Sherry Karpe of West Long Branch)

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