The Community Blood Center’s new COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program will launch Friday, giving local residents who have recovered from coronavirus “a unique opportunity to contribute to efforts to defeat the virus,” program supporters said.
COVID-19 survivors who have documentation that they tested positive for the virus and have been symptom-free for at least 14 days may be able to donate plasma under the program.
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The Mayo Clinic said that Premier Health is the first health system in the nation to treat a COVID-19 positive patient using the Mayo Clinic’s plasma protocols, according to a press release.
“The plasma from someone who has recently been infected by COVID-19 has antibodies that may be able to fight the infection,” said Dr. James Alexander, Community Blood Center’s medical director. “The No. 1 criteria is that someone has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been clear of all symptoms for two weeks. Their physician must determine they meet the criteria before they schedule an appointment to donate.”
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Candidates for the program must be at least 18, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health and feel well.
The Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of convalescent plasma from those who have recovered from the virus for current patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or for those deemed at high risk. Some evidence suggestions that plasma donations can help recipients develop their own antibodies, though more research is needed.
People of all blood types are needed, said Dr. Roberto Colón, system vice president of quality and safety, Premier Health.
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“By donating convalescent plasma, a donor will be potentially able to save the lives of several COVID-19 patients,” Colon said. “Because there is not an established effective treatment, this therapy will be of particular benefit to those who have more severe disease manifestations.”
Premier Health and CompuNet are providing pre-screening services for the program, with Premier Health’s foundations covering the cost, to help build a large registry of potential donors.
Those wishing to donate to support the foundations in this initiative or to learn more information about the convalescent plasma donation criteria can visit www.premierhealth.com/covid19plasma
Community Blood Center is collecting, processing and distributing the plasma. Plasma will be used both for current cases at all local hospitals served by Community Blood Center, as well as stored for future use.
For COVID-19 survivors who are interested in donating plasma, they can sign up for the convalescent plasma registry or the Community Blood Center registry at www.GivingBlood.org