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Plasma Donations Sought from Recovered COVID-19 Patients

Plasma Donations Sought from Recovered COVID-19 Patients

A powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19 may be inside of you.

If you’re one of Tangipahoa and Livingston parishes’ estimated 500-plus confirmed coronavirus survivors, you might be eligible to donate plasma to help seriously ill COVID-19 patients at North Oaks Medical Center recover too. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus.

The Mayo Clinic is serving as the lead institution in a recently expanded national access program making it possible for those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to potentially help others being treated at hospitals like North Oaks Medical Center recover through an investigational medicine initiative approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). It’s called Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT). Donor criteria include:

  • Eligibility as a blood donor
    • Age 17 or older
    • Weight of 110 pounds or more
    • Good health
  • Verified prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test.

Potential donors to the CPT program can enroll online with the American Red Cross via a national portal here. Once the Red Cross determines that you are eligible to donate, they will send your contact information to the collection site nearest you to schedule your donation. (The collection site may be a non-Red Cross site, such as The Blood Center.)

Units of convalescent plasma will be sent to participating hospitals, including North Oaks Medical Center, to administer to seriously ill COVID-19 patients with their consent as North Oaks Infectious Disease Physician Stacy Newman, MD, and her colleagues determine appropriate. Patient improvements or reactions will be closely monitored and reported to The Mayo Clinic to aid in ongoing research of treatment effectiveness.

Plasma is a key component of everyone’s blood that generally carries nutrients to different parts of the body. When someone recovers from a disease, their plasma is programmed to retain antibodies to help defend the body from the same disease should it be encountered again.

CPT has been studied and successfully used in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic.

However, it is not currently known if CPT will be an effective treatment against COVID-19, according to the FDA. Since there are no known effective treatments, the scientific community is investigating multiple options. Some information suggests that convalescent plasma could help some coronavirus patients—especially those who are seriously ill. Since plasma transfusions are generally safe for most patients, the FDA has approved this further investigation of CPT as an effective treatment option.