Thirteen HCA Healthcare North Florida Division Hospitals, including Ocala Regional Medical Center, 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.
According to the news release and supporting information, plasma is rich with antibodies that may help critically ill patients fight COVID-19 by building their immune response to the virus.
The release notes 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 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.”
Those who can donate are individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are fully-recovered based on being symptom-free for 28 days or symptom-free for at least 14 days with documentation of a negative follow-up test for COVID-19, and who meet American Red Cross blood donation criteria. To speak with a representative to confirm eligibility, call (833) 582-1971.
If a donor meets criteria, he or she will be able to donate plasma through a process similar to a blood donation at the American Red Cross or another local donation center. The plasma is then matched to a patient fighting the virus and is administered through an infusion.