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Mobile plasma lab could come to Vail Valley

’Convalescent plasma’ donated by recovered COVID-19 victims could help current ICU patients

Dr. Nadine Lober has been spearheading local efforts for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma. Several have, including Lober who donated last weekend in Denver. AVitalant, an independent blood provider, might bring a mobile lab to Vail so local donors don't have to drive to Denver.
Special to the Daily
Who can donate plasma Not just anyone can donate convalescent plasma. The FDA is guiding blood centers on how to qualify these donors. According to Dr. Samantha Mack, Vitalant’s Medical Director for this region, you must meet four criteria:
  1. You need to have a laboratory copy of a confirmed COVID-19 nasal swab test.
  2. After being symptom-free for 14 days, you can repeat the nasal swab test showing a negative result. Or you can wait to be symptom-free for 28 days and you won’t need a second nasal swab test.
  3. You have to qualify as a regular blood donor. Visit Vitalant.org for more information on general blood donation eligibility.
The local program is only for Vail Valley residents. Email covid19vail@gmail.com.

Dr. Nadine Lober hoped to find at least a dozen Vail Valley residents qualified and willing to donate blood plasma to help COVID-19 patients.

Her list topped 50 and is still growing.

“People just want to help, and they feel helpless,” Lober said. “The number of people willing to step up has been so inspiring.”

Liquid Gold

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, your yellow-colored blood plasma could be liquid gold.

Your blood may have developed antibodies that will help you and others fight off the disease. Each “convalescent plasma” donation can help up to three people in critical condition in an ICU ward battling the disease, Lober said.

“The sooner those patients receive the plasma the greater the chances of it helping them,” Lober said.

There has to be a paper trail, though.

“If you don’t have a documented positive test result, unfortunately, you are not eligible to donate plasma,” Lober said.

However, if you do donate plasma you’re eligible to donate again in as little as seven days. As they draw the blood, it’s sent through a machine that extracts the plasma.

The red blood cells are then reintroduced into the donor.

Mobile lab might come to Vail

For now, you have to drive to a Vitalant facility in Denver to donate plasma.

However, Vitalant might bring a mobile lab to Eagle County to collect plasma. Besides the two-hour trips to Denver and back, it takes about an hour to donate plasma.

Vitalant is the country’s second-largest independent blood provider with nearly 1,000 centers across 40 states. Vitalant started collecting “convalescent plasma” a few weeks ago.

Vitalant is busy and you need to go through the proper channels and get an appointment from the Vitalant scheduling center before trekking to Denver to donate.

So, if you’ve recovered from COVID-19, and if you’ve shown no symptoms for 28 days, and you want to donate blood plasma, please make the connection through email at covid19vail@gmail.com.


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