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After COVID recovery, Billings doctor donates antibody-rich plasma

Dr. Ron Kohler urges others to do the same
After COVID recovery, Billings doctor donates antibody-rich plasma
Posted at 9:46 AM, Sep 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-12 11:46:05-04

Convalescent plasma in people who have recovered from COVID-19, is a possible effective treatment for those who are still fighting the virus. In fact, taking antibodies from those who were infected and putting them into those who are still infected is a time-honored tradition in medicine in the fight against many illnesses.

Although testing is still being done to determine how effective COVID antibodies are, that hasn’t stopped Dr. Roy Kohler of St. Vincent Healthcare of Billings from donating.

“It’s not a lot of fun,” Kohler says about his recent bout with COVID-19. “It’s an illness that for me was body aches, runny nose, cough, fever and fatigue. It’s just not a fun illness to have.”

Kohler said that he battled COVID for over a month, but luckily recovered. That’s when he decided to give back, literally giving his antibody-rich plasma back to the community to help others who were still in the fight.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he says. “I know it’s one of the possible treatments in the scenes that it is being studied and looked at, and there are some studies that show some promise to it. If I got the antibodies, and if I can help somebody else out, and if it can at least clarify if it is as effective as a therapeutic approach, then that’s something that can be helpful,” he said.

He added that there still is no vaccine, and no drugs are available to treat COVID-19, so plasma may be a helpful tool in the fight to save lives. He also encourages anyone who has recovered from COVIFD to come out and donate.

“It’s not an uncomfortable procedure at all. Actually, it’s an hour in the donor chair with Netflix or taking a nap… that’s the way I look at it,” he said.

Kohler donates weekly at the Vitalant blood bank in Billings, and he has lost count of how many donations he’s made. But he says he will keep donating as long as he has antibodies.

For more information on antibodies or to donate blood or plasma: