Officials with University Medical Center of El Paso and Vitalant are urging El Pasoans who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma to help other patients survive the current pandemic.
Vitalant recently launched a program to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from the disease. Known as “convalescent plasma,” this blood component contains antibodies that may give patients an extra boost to fight their illness.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified and approved convalescent plasma treatment as an “emergency investigational new drug.” It is currently the only antibody treatment available to COVID-19 patients and, as such, is a promising new tool.
“Our hospital has treated many patients with convalescent plasma as one of the weapons we use to help the patient fight this virus,” said Dr. Joel Hendryx, UMC Chief Medical Officer. “It has, along with other therapies, proved helpful in reducing the amount of time it takes a patient to recover from the disease.”
With the help of COVID-19-recovered El Pasoans, Vitalant is helping patients fight this novel infectious disease.
“By donating convalescent plasma, a donor potentially may save the lives of several COVID-19 patients”, said Dr. Liz Rosenbaum, Medical Director for Vitalant, South.
Eligibility criteria for donors 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. For more information, please call 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762).
Vitalant will only accept donors who meet all FDA-required donor eligibility criteria and are symptom-free for at least 14 days. Potential donors can only donate if they have applied and have been accepted to the program.
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.