KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The NBC news cameraman being treated for Ebola in Omaha could have a better chance of survival because of a donation made in Kansas City. Dr. Kent Brantly, the first Ebola patient treated in the U.S., stopped in Kansas City on Tuesday to donate plasma. Dr. Brantly has recovered and is no longer contagious. He made the donation as he passed through the area on a family road trip from Indiana to Texas.
The call from America's Blood Center came in to Kansas City's Community Blood Center around noon Tuesday. A person was in the area who had antibodies for the Ebola virus and he needed to make a donation. Dr. Brantly arrived 90 minutes later. After paperwork was completed, Cree Jackson, a phlebotomist, hooked Dr. Brantly to a machine which separated his plasma from red cells. It was about a two-hour process.
"It was essentially like any other blood draw. He was just like a normal donor. However, the situation was much more amazing," said Jackson.
That's because the plasma came from a man who's recovered from Ebola, and it was going to a man who's fighting it. By 7 p.m., the donation was on its way in a truck to Omaha. The donation was for Ashoka Mukpo whose blood matches Dr. Brantly's. The doctor had also donated plasma to the first Ebola patient treated in Omaha, Dr. Rick Sacra, who has recovered.
A Kansas City doctor who specializes in the immune system says the antibodies in the plasma certainly can't hurt, and may help Mukpo mount some resistance to the virus.
"There's been no research on it. So with Ebola, you have to kinda throw whatever you have at it," said Dr. Zachary Jacobs of The Center for Rheumatic Disease.
Plasma products are commonly used to help people with immune deficiencies. Benny Hoy has one of those deficiencies and gets regular infusions at the center. He says the treatment has dramatically cut down on the infections he has.
"It's been uh, I mean literally a miracle," said Hoy.
Now he's hoping for the same for Mukpo, the Ebola patient in Omaha. So are the people at the Community Blood Center.
"We'll be wishing him the best," said Jackson.