ORLANDO, Fla. - Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered could save lives. The nonprofit blood donation center OneBlood wants their plasma.
"The treatment is called 'COVID-19 convalescent plasma' and it’s an experimental treatment that the FDA has given emergency permission to be used in critically ill patients with the coronavirus," said OneBlood Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations Susan Forbes.
Patients who have recovered from the virus have plasma that's full of coronavirus antibodies. Transfused into someone suffering, that plasma may be a game-changer.
"People who got better because they could fight off the infection, they did it with antibodies. Those same antibodies could help those still fighting the disease by binding to the virus and preventing it from attacking your body," said Dr. Mehmet Oz.
OneBlood uses specialized equipment to take blood, separate and keep plasma and return red blood cells to donors. The process takes about an hour.
OneBlood is already working with the federal government to prioritize where plasma is most desperately needed. It's also working with the state health department to identify donors.
"Once the donors are identified, we’ll arrange for them to come to OneBlood so that they can donate their plasma and then we will be able to offer that convalescent plasma to hospitals to treat severely ill coronavirus patients," Forbes said.
To donate, you have to meet blood donation criteria and additional criteria from the FDA, including:
- COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood
- Required testing must be performed and the donation must be found suitable
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test
- Complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation
- Have a negative result for COVID-19
- Meet all standard FDA blood donation requirements
- As with all transfusions, the donor and the patient will need to have compatible blood types
OneBlood hopes to start accepting plasma donations in the next few weeks.