Doctors ask COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma to help critically-ill patients fight the virus

Convalescent plasma needed to fight COVID-19
Posted at 5:39 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 08:55:51-04

TAMPA, Fla. — There is a renewed call to action for survivors of COVID-19 to donate plasma to help critically ill patients fighting the virus. With no cure or vaccine to prevent coronavirus, doctors say convalescent plasma can be a great tool in helping treat those seriously ill with COVID-19.

Doctors say people who have recovered from COVID-19 have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in their plasma.

Dr. Nishant Anand, BayCare's chief medical officer, says transfusing plasma from a COVID-19 survivor into a patient still fighting the virus can boost their immune system and help them recover.

“What it does is it takes those antibodies that were developed by someone who has recovered from COVID and it helps the individual who's actively sick to fight off the COVID infection,” Anand said.

Now, OneBlood, a leading blood donation organization here in Florida, says hospitals are providing convalescent plasma earlier in treatment is driving demand to new heights. OneBlood began collecting and distributing COVID-19 convalescent plasma in April.

Plasma can be donated every 28 days. If you donate blood with OneBlood you will find out if you have the coronavirus antibody.

The antibody test is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms.

Donors will be able to see their results approximately 48 hours after donating by logging into their donor portal.

In addition to meeting all FDA donor eligibility to be a blood donor, COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors must have complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation and provide one of the following:

• Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test or a letter from a hospital confirming a COVID-19 diagnosis
• OR, a positive serological test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

Fill out the submission form and the OneBlood convalescent plasma team will contact you within 24-48 hours to set up an appointment. Keep in mind, all donors are required to wear a mask. Convalescent plasma donations take about 90 minutes from registration to donation.