SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Health officials with LSU Shreveport said Louisiana still has a high number of COVID-19 cases and is third in the number of deaths per capita. Fortunately the research institution said it’s on the forefront of solving the pandemic.
During a press conference Wednesday, LSUHS researchers spoke about how the Emerging Viral Threat Lab was established a few weeks ago to study COVID-19 and it’s possible resurgence in the future. The lab analyzes tests from all over the state and was able to confirm cases in nursing homes and small hospitals.
A mobile testing van will be sent to federally qualified health centers and rural areas starting Thursday. People will be swapped in their cars. The goal is to test people who have been pre screened and are showing symptoms, but they can screen patients who drive up.
“A week from Saturday and the following Saturday, we’re testing in the Martin Luther King neighborhood at the David Raines clinic from 10 to 2. Also setting up clinics for Cedar Grove, the Mooretown neighborhood, Gilam in North Caddo, Haynesville in Claiborne and Minden in Webster parish,” said Dr. Connie Arnold, Professor of Medicine.
LSUHS has initiated another new research effort by creating a Serology Lab to identify plasma donors and ones who have more antibodies than others. This includes those who tested positive for the virus but were asymptomatic. The lab will support the convalescent plasma therapy clinical trial and how different immune systems reacted to the virus.
“Individuals can have a little of the antibody or they can have a lot of the antibody. We really want a lot of the antibody because it’s most protective,” said Matthew Woolard, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.
Doctor Martha White the Regional Director of Public Health said these treatments and convalescent plasma therapy administered at LSUHS helped her husband who’s in critical but stable condition there COVID-19.
“I know the convalescent serum was helpful to my husband. He was experiencing a downward trajectory,” Whyte said.
Doctor Whyte encourages those who’ve survived COVID-19 to donate their plasma.
“You will be doing something amazing to help people and their families,” Whyte said.
She said if you feel you had COVID-19 and recovered but could not get tested in time your plasma may have the antibodies they’re looking for. You can donate at Life Share Blood Center where they are in need of blood donations of all types regardless if you had the virus.