“Making a Mark” on COVID-19 Research
EO Louisiana member Chad Perez Participates in Lifesaving Research
Entrepreneurs’ Organization Louisiana member Chad Perez has always made an effort to embody the organization’s “Make a Mark” core value — not just at his company, Pinnacle Security & Investigation Inc., but also within his family, community and personal life. Little did he know that when he contracted the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, it would lead to an opportunity to make a mark in a way that could potentially save lives.
“I had 100-degree fever, with typical flu-like symptoms, muscle aches and chills,” Perez says. “I went to a drive through testing site in New Orleans and waited five hours to get tested. It was the first day they did the drive through testing. Besides the long wait, I was surprised at how well the testing site was operated. Three days after being tested, I got the call with my results, and I was positive for COVID-19.”
Luckily, Perez made a full recovery, and by the time he received his positive test results, most symptoms had faded. At the same time, he happened to be participating in a virtual CEO Roundtable session hosted by Louisiana Economic Development (LED). Also participating was Andrea Jeanfreau, CEO of MedPharmics, who mentioned a trial her team was conducting with recovered COVID-19 patients.
“MedPharmics is a research company. We acquire research studies from pharma companies all over the world and provide patients to be in the study,” says Andrea Jeanfreau. “It can be something as simple as researching a toenail fungus or something as exclusive as cancer.”
Most recently, MedPharmics partnered with East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) to determine whether blood plasma from recovered patients, which contains COVID-19 antibodies, could be transfused into a patient currently suffering from the virus.
“We bring the people into our office and do a nasal therengeol swab to make sure it’s negative,” says Jeanfreau, “and if so, we send them to EJGH. They draw the patient’s blood, separate the plasma and administer it to patients in the ICU to give them the antibodies. The antibodies attack the SARS COVID-19 virus and allow the patients to heal.”
Jeanfreau says that one patient, who was in the ICU at the time the blood plasma was administered, was off the ventilator and sitting up within two days. Several other patients have seen similar benefits — which was why Perez was inspired to participate in the study.
“As EO members, we strive to make a difference in all that we do, even in challenging times,” Perez says. “After learning that I could be carrying antibodies as a result of my recovery from COVID that could be used to help others fight this virus, I felt compelled to do my part and participate. If I can play even a small part in helping someone battling this virus, then I’m 100% committed.”
In fact, Jeanfreau says that small acts of kindness like this one have made an incredibly difficult situation for all frontline health providers a little easier. They’ve received thank-you cards and food donations from families and grateful citizens, which she says provided a much needed “dose of love.”
Perez says that his experience with MedPharmics was efficient and expedient, and he encourages any other recovered patients to consider participating in further research to make their own mark on communities and patients in need.
“I was fortunate to recover quickly and without any lasting effects, but that’s not the case for many,” he says. “Your donation could help save a life.”