FILE: Vitalant collected its first convalescent plasma donation from recovered COVID-19 patient Dwight Everett on April 8th. | Photo courtesy VItalant
Vitalant, the nation’s largest independent blood provider, has 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. In coordination with University Medical Center, Vitalant is working to identify willing donors who qualify for this type of donation.
Currently, there are no vaccines or proven treatments for COVID-19 because the virus is so new. Although trials for a vaccine are underway, it is expected to be many months before one is approved.
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.
This form of investigational treatment may give the body more fight against COVID-19 by using antibodies that are active against the disease. With the help of our local communities, hospital partners and extensive research experience, Vitalant is gearing up to help patients fight this novel infectious disease with the help of willing recovered COVID-19 patients.
“By donating convalescent plasma, a donor potentially may save the lives of several COVID-19 patients”, states Dr. Liz Rosenbaum, Medical Director for Vitalant, South.
Vitalant is seeking convalescent plasma donors to help patients. Eligibility criteria 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).
“As this life-transforming program continues to expand, we’re putting out a call to those who have recovered from COVID-19 to help patients in need,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant’s chief of marketing. “We encourage those who are eligible to go through the process to make a real difference.”
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 online form to begin the application process. Potential donors will then be contacted by Vitalant.