Plasma donation from recovered COVID-19 patients could help severely ill
if you're a recovered coronavirus patient, you could have life-saving antibodies inside of you and that may mean promising news for those critically ill with the virus.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Monument Health is participating with Mayo Clinic and other health care systems for a research project to determine if blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients could be an effective treatment for hospital patients with severe infections.
Monument Health is also working with Vitalant, operator of the Black Hills blood donation center, to draw the blood and separate the blood cells from the plasma.
Brittany Sigel, Vitalant Manager Donor Recruitment, says, “It is an investigational treatment that has been approved by the FDA to help in the fight against COVID-19, and the convalescent plasma, what it does is it may give that extra boost to the body’s immune system to help give that extra fight against COVID-19.”
A single plasma donation from a recovered person may help up to 5 patients each time they donate. Until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, this convalescent plasma could give someone the best possible chance at fighting the illness.
Michelle Stephens, VP of Operations, Monument Health, says, “This is a really old treatment that has been used with Spanish flu and some other things to treat people, back before vaccines were available and so basically they transfuse the sick person with the plasma with the antibodies in it and try to cure the person or make them better.”
Monument Health is currently recruiting donors whose plasma will be used in the research.
Emily Leech, Dir. of Lab Services, Monument Health, says, “It’s really important to be able to offer this to the community as COVID-19 is really new and there still is a lot of learning, we want to make sure that we are offering all of the best practices available and those opportunities for our patients to help them through this so they can get the treatment that they need.”
If you have had COVID-19 or not, there are still ways you can help.
Sigel says, “All the blood products we collect, they go to help save a life and right now during these times, you know people are trying to help and not sure how to help and so even a regular blood donation like right now is still a way to give back to the community.”
For the plasma donations, you must meet certain requirements and fill out paperwork ahead of time. Allow at least an hour for the appointment.
Anyone interested in donating plasma should reach out to their Monument Health primary care provider for details. Requirements for donation are a previous COVID-19 infection and have to be symptom free for a minimum of 28 days.
Vitalant is seeking convalescent plasma donors to help patients. Eligibility criteria are:
* Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test
* Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days
* Meet all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma
* Even with these requirements, there may be additional tests or other criteria required. In some instances, those who have recovered from COVID-19 may be able to donate, even if they did not have an initial laboratory test.
Those who meet that criteria and want to donate plasma are encouraged to apply through the Vitalant website, click here.
Donors cannot walk in for this procedure; they must first fill out the form to begin the application process. Potential donors will then be contacted by Vitalant.