Plasma from Recovered Patients May Help Fight the Virus
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If you previously tested positive for COVID-19 and are now asymptomatic and test negative, you have built up high levels of antibodies in your plasma to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) that defended your body against the virus. Administering your plasma to a critically ill patient could provide a stronger immune response to help that person fight the disease.
It is the clear, straw-colored liquid that can be removed from the blood safely. Plasma is rich in antibodies. These circulate in the body to defend against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances. The term “convalescent plasma” refers to the plasma from recovered individuals.
Donors of COVID-19 plasma need to meet specific criteria to ensure the safety of the donor and the staff. These criteria are based on FDA requirements. To determine whether you meet the requirements, the first step is to undergo COVID-19 Donor screening performed through Carter BloodCare, our community blood center.
It’s unknown. Because the FDA has approved plasma for “emergency use,” UT Southwestern can use it as an investigational therapy for select critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Although the effectiveness against COVID-19 is not proven, plasma has been used to treat viral infections for more than 100 years. This includes managing disease outbreaks such as the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
Yes. Donating plasma uses a safe, automated process called plasmapheresis. A specialized medical device separates plasma from red blood cells and other blood components. This will not reduce your immunity to COVID-19. The plasma is then stored by a blood bank and can be used to transfuse critically ill patients.
Seeking Plasma Therapy
Families of patients seeking COVID-19 plasma therapy should work through their physician, who must obtain FDA approval before plasma can be provided.
Identifying Plasma Donors
Families of patients wishing to help identify COVID-19 plasma donors should direct potential donors to Carter BloodCare to provide answers to screening questions.