By Elizabeth Chapin@uky.edu
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 9, 2020) — If you were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and have recovered, your plasma may contain antibodies that could help other critically ill COVID-19 patients.
UK HealthCare physicians may start administering convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to those with severe COVID-19 infections. The FDA recently released guidelines allowing the investigative therapy, which may show promise in helping COVID-19 patients recover faster by offering passive immunity.
UK HealthCare and Baptist Health have partnered with the Kentucky Blood Center to collect donations from COVID-19 survivors and maintain a plasma bank to use for serious or immediately life-threatening infections.
Kentucky has one of the smaller populations of COVID-19 patients in the U.S., so it’s even more important that recovered patients step up and donate plasma if they can, says Dr. Dennis Williams, associate professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine in University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine and medical director of the Kentucky Blood Center.
“As cases are expected to peak in the coming weeks, the Kentucky Blood Center critically needs more convalescent donors to start building a plasma supply and stay ahead of the need,” said Williams. “If you had a positive COVID-19 test and your symptoms have been gone for more than two weeks, you can take part in this potentially life-saving new way to address the coronavirus – and help fellow Kentuckians in need.”
It is possible that convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) might be effective against the infection. Use of convalescent plasma has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic.
Williams says the Kentucky Blood Center is ready to start collecting from donors who have had the appropriate COVID-19 testing completed and meet all other eligibility criteria.
Those who have received a positive test result, have recovered from the virus and are eligible to give blood are urged to contact the center for further information on how to donate plasma here: https://kybloodcenter.org/convalescent-plasma-donation/.