Vitalant uses convalescent plasma donations to help others still fighting the virus

Convalescent plasma contains antibodies that help boost a patient's ability to fight COVID-19

FARGO, N.D. — Susan and Scott Jorissen were traveling through Peru and Ecuador right around the time the pandemic starting getting serious.

“We literally left Ecuador at a quarter to twelve the night that they were shutting the airport down,” said Susan Jorissen.

The Valley City couple made it back to the U.S. safely, but they could tell something was off.

“We got back to Miami and Scott’s like ‘I don’t know, I just kind of feel yucky’ and I was like it is probably just because we had been up for 30 hours and we just need some sleep,” said Susan Jorissen.

Those feelings turned out to be more than just jet lag.

Not long after their return, the pair found out they had tested positive for COVID-19.

They self-isolated at home for over two weeks. They experienced fever, chills and aches, but eventually the two were able to fully recover.

Still, the unknown continued to concern the Jorissens.

“I have so many questions that I feel like if there is anything we can do to answer those questions, we are probably going to do it,” said Susan Jorissen.

As recovered patients, the couple is in a unique position to help find those answers.

At Vitalant in Fargo, ND, Susan and Scott spent about an hour of their day donating convalescent plasma.

This type of plasma, found in recovered individuals, contains antibodies that help patients who are still battling the disease.

“Ideally, those antibodies will help basically give an extra boost of fighting power to that person still fighting it,” said Vitalant’s Tesia Hummer.

In order to donate, a person must have had a positive case of COVID-19 and have been symptom free for at least 14 days.

Vitalant is making the effort to get as many eligible individuals as possible to donate and to give it to those with severe cases of COVID-19.

“We are identifying those convalescent plasma donors and then working with our hospitals to determine which patients are the right match to receive this convalescent plasma treatment,” said Hummer.

Vitalant believes this kind of investigational treatment can help effect real change to help fight the pandemic.

They are asking individuals to fill out a prescreening form before donating. To find the form and to get more information on convalescent plasma and becoming a donor, click here.

Categories: Community, Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Health, Local News, North Dakota News