COVID-19 survivors give plasma to help others

"We’re all in this together, even if we’re apart. We’re all in this together”
Covid(Source: KSLA News 12)
Updated: Apr. 5, 2020 at 11:23 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Two friends who recovered from coronavirus now are donating their plasma to help others who are battling more advanced stages of COVID-19.

And they’re encouraging others to do the same when they recover.

David Langston believes he contracted coronavirus while traveling home through the Atlanta airport in February.

“At that time, there were only 15 people in the entire United States who were diagnosed positively with the coronavirus. It wasn’t on anybody’s mind; there was no real testing protocol or anything like that.”

Langston says he started developing symptoms five days later.

“My first thought was that I had the flu. So I went to get tested. I had no fever. So, based on my symptoms, the doctor gave me some steroid shots and some steroid pills. And, of course, I felt better after that.

“After about seven days of feeling great, I went back and was retested for the flu and strep throat. They were negative,” Langston continued. "They then took a chest X-ray and the doctor noticed something in my left lung and asked for a professional opinion from a radiologist.

"The radiologist said my lungs were clear, but the doctor who was being really careful and caring said he thought he saw something. So he sent me home with some antibiotics.”

Langston says he believes the doctor’s methods might have helped him.

“Even though I had the coronavirus, and he didn’t realize it, that may have helped,” Langston said, “But I still got worse and I ended up going back again and did another x-ray and that’s when the doctor got worried."

Langston said the doctor told him to go to the emergency room. He says the doctor saw the infection spreading and feared it could make its way to Langston’s heart. He says he got a CT scan at the hospital. They then said it was more than likely coronavirus.

“They did a test, isolated me. And at that time, the results took a while to come back; so about 40-something hours later, they told me I was positive.”

Langston says his symptoms at that point were very low oxygen levels, he felt weak, was pale and had difficulty breathing. They treated him at the hospital before sending him home. Langston says he recovered quickly after that.

Before being diagnosed, Langston celebrated Mardi Gras with his family and friends. That’s where he believes his friend Caddo sheriff’s Cpl. Kevin Calhoun contracted the coronavirus.

“I had some very light symptoms,” Calhoun recalled. “I had a very low-grade fever. It only lasted a night or so. A little fatigue and some coughing. Other than that , I wouldn’t have missed anything in the world.

"But when we discovered David had it, I felt the need to quarantine and that’s what I did. I went to the doctor to get a test that ended up coming back positive. It was a surprise to me to be honest with you.”

Calhoun said originally he wasn’t going to tell a lot of people about the diagnosis.

“I notified my captian that I had been around someone and he told me to stay home,” Calhoun recalled. “I didn’t tell anybody else; and I wasn’t going to tell anyone else because I didn’t want anyone freaking out.

"But when this came up about giving plasma, I think everybody needs to know about that.”

Langston and Calhoun have fully recovered and now are donating their plasma to help other coronavirus patients battling more advanced stages of the virus.

The two friends are donating their plasma through LifeShare Blood Centers. Health officials say because the two recovered, their blood contains antibodies that could help others with more advanced stages of the virus.

Calhoun’s plasma is expected to be transfused to a critical patient soon, which would be the first transfusion of its kind in Louisiana and among the first in the U.S.

They say they did have to take another coronavirus test and have it come back negative to donate.

“I’m hoping as more and more people have negative test results come back in, that they will be willing to go in because there is no reason to be afraid to do it, and you’ll be saving some lives," Langston said. “I hope this procedure works, they are doing it. And so if it does, people need to line up and give plasma. If this works, they will be saving some lives.”

“If this works and they do need the plasma, they may need a lot. So people need to know about it. We were there less than two hours and that includes the screening portion. It’s just something that we need to do and it’s so simple.

“We’re all in this together, even if we’re apart,” Calhoun said. "We’re all in this together.”

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