(UNDATED) – With coronavirus cases continuing to rise worldwide, Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, is seeking plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat community members diagnosed with the virus.
According to the New York Times, in recent days nationally nearly 60,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed daily. This has led to a high demand for convalescent plasma that could offer hope. In addition to severely affected patients, this treatment is also being used in patients earlier in their illness to limit progression of the effects of the virus.
“As the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, so does the demand for convalescent plasma,” said Versiti Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Abshire. “We saw tremendous initial support from patients who recovered from the infection. We have seen a drop in donations over the past few weeks. Now is a critically important time for those who have recovered from the infection to donate and support COVID patients in need. The donation process is safe and could help save lives.”
Versiti blood centers, among the first in the U.S. to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma, is working with its partner hospitals to identify recovered patients. Potential donors can call 1-866-702-4673 to donate or visit versiti.org/covid19plasma. Donors must have a documented positive lab test result for COVID-19 and be symptom free for 14 days.
“If you are able to donate plasma, it is very important that you try and do so,” said Grace Biermacher, a convalescent plasma donor and student at the University of Michigan. “We need to do everything we can to stop COVID-19. Donating plasma is really easy and knowing that you could be saving lives by doing so is incredibly humbling.”
The plasma treatment transfers the antibodies that the recovered patient created into critically ill patients currently receiving care. Because of the investigational nature of this treatment, it is difficult to predict how many plasma infusions a COVID-19 patient may require.
The convalescent plasma donations, which take 30-40 minutes, are collected at Versiti donor centers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The donation process for COVID-19 convalescent plasma is the same as with other plasma donations and will be performed using an apheresis machine, which separates the blood components.