Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare officials announced Monday that they are participating in a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus.
As part of the effort, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare is seeking eligible volunteers from the El Paso area to donate plasma to help current patients in need.
“We are proud to take part in this important study,” Dr. Ogechika Alozie, chief medical officer of Del Sol Medical Center, said. “We are asking for the help of our community to spread awareness about plasma donation for patients facing COVID-19 not only here in El Paso, but also around the world.”
Hospital officials say that, to date, there is no proven therapy for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, but there is a long history of successful viral infection treatment using convalescent plasma. After someone is infected with a virus like COVID-19 and recovers, their blood contains antibodies that their immune system produced to help them fight off the virus.
By infusing this plasma into patients who are facing severe cases of COVID-19, their immune system might more effectively be able to fight the virus.
Recent examples of this approach have occurred during outbreaks of coronaviruses like SARS-1, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), but additional clinical data—and more plasma donations—are needed to determine efficacy in treating COVID-19.
“The success of the study hinges on the continued collection of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Oscar Vega, chief medical officer of Las Palmas Medical Center, said. “People in this community are always willing to help each other, and recovered patients are looking for ways to help. Plasma donations, for those who are eligible, is a great option.”
People who tested positive for COVID-19 and have since tested negative can help by donating plasma through Vitalant. To find out more about the donation process, eligibility and locations to donate in El Paso, please call our dedicated COVID-19 Plasma Phone Line at (833) 582-1971.
Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare is one of 172 hospitals participating from the HCA Healthcare network. HCA Healthcare, along with its Sarah Cannon Research Institute, is leveraging its clinical research capabilities and national hospital network to quickly expand collection and testing for this study, which is being led by the Mayo Clinic and supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Hospital officials add that this is one of several research initiatives involving COVID-19 in which HCA Healthcare and Sarah Cannon are participating.