Tidelands Health encourages individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma as potential treatment for critically ill
Tidelands Health is participating in a nationwide initiative, coordinated by the Mayo Clinic, to investigate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma to treat severe cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Area residents who have recovered from COVID-19 are being asked to donate plasma to support the effort.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the nationwide program, and the American Red Cross is playing a crucial role in collection of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.
“I see a lot of potential,” said Dr. Mitchell Devlin, who leads a cross-departmental team overseeing the program at Tidelands Health. “My hope overall is that this is going to be effective for those patients who might not have had a chance otherwise. It’s just more ammunition to help us fight this war against COVID-19.”
People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies to the virus in their blood. Physicians hope donated plasma can be transfused to patients with severe cases of COVID-19 so those antibodies can attack the virus and help patients recover more rapidly. This type of treatment has been successfully used during other pandemics, including the 1918 flu and the SARS outbreak.
During this exploratory initiative, the treatment will only be given to patients with severe or high-risk cases of COVID-19.
“This is for the person who ends up in ICU, the person who ends up on a ventilator,” Dr. Devlin said. “This could end up turning the course for those patients.”
The potentially life-saving transfusions can begin as soon as there is a good supply of plasma in the area donated from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
To donate, individuals must have recovered from COVID-19, be symptom-free and otherwise healthy. The American Red Cross is collecting the plasma, and donors will undergo the usual screenings before donating.
Find more information and register to donate here.
“We are all doing what we can for each other right now – that’s how we will beat this together,” Dr. Devlin said. “This is a way those who have recovered from COVID-19 can help.”