INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A group of COVID-19 survivors are teaming up online to combat the virus, help researchers in Indiana and get patients lifesaving treatment.
Survivor Corps was started on Facebook at the beginning of the pandemic and is now a nonprofit with more than 150,000 people involved. The group’s mission is to empathize, organize and mobilize. Now, they’re getting COVID-19 antibody therapies from places like Eli Lilly in Indianapolis to people who are sick.
“Survivor Corps was born out of lockdown,” said Diana Berrent, the founder of Survivor Corps.
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The group is a virtual community of COVID-19 survivors battling the pandemic socially distanced, but together. Berrent started the online community after she was one of the first people to get the virus in New York City. Now the website offers support, solutions and a way to help science.
“We are there to bring the experts to them. We have a website SurvivorCorps.Com that is a tremendous resource from anything from how to sign up for studies, how to donate plasma, where to get monoclonal antibodies if you do get infected,” said Berrent.
Monoclonal antibodies is the antibody therapy that helped former President Donald Trump recover from COVID-19. The group recently teamed up with Optum labs and is now getting the treatment from places like Eli Lilly and Company straight to patients.
“Go to GotCovid.Org immediately and you can get monoclonal antibodies for free. They are sitting on shelves. We need to get them into arms as soon as possible. Do not wait until you feel very sick, because then it might be too late to get them,” said Berrent.
Patients need to get the treatment within the first 10 days of testing positive for COVID-19. When they go to GotCovid.Org they can see if they qualify for the treatment.
“If you test positive, they will actually send a nurse to your house to give you the treatment and it is totally free of cost,” said Dr. Natalie Lambert. “To to me, this is the most amazing program that will save lives.”
Dr. Lambert has spent her career working to save lives as an associate research professor at the IU School of Medicine. Now she is studying the long-term impact of COVID-19.
“Trying to understand what COVID-19 is to people who suffer from these long-term symptoms,” said Lambert.
She’s using Survivor Corps large pool of people, to study and connect with COVID-19 long haulers.
“The best thing about going online is that you really hear patients’ stories about what they are going through,” said Lambert. “They are often willing to talk about the problems that they need to be solved in order to feel better.”
While experts are optimistic about the COVID-19 vaccine, they said there is still a long road for COVID-19 survivors, and groups like Survivor Corps are key.
“It’s fantastic that the vaccine is rolling out, but we have to remember that there are thousands of people who have these long-term COVID health impacts who are not getting better. And we have to take care of them,” said Lambert.