Plasma from recovered Vail Valley COVID-19 patients needed to help victims
Plasma donors must be symptom free for two weeks
If you recovered from COVID-19, doctors might want your blood plasma to help those still suffering.
Vitalant, the nation’s second-largest independent blood provider, on Wednesday began collecting “convalescent plasma” donations from recovered COVID-19 patients in Ventura, California. Vitalant works with nearly 1,000 hospitals across 40 states and hopes to scale up the effort.
Vail Valley resident Dr. Nadine Lober and Dr. Alma Juels, assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, are helping coordinate efforts to collect plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients in the Vail Valley.
Plasma is rich in antibodies that may help COVID-19 sufferers fight off the virus, but it is an experimental treatment, Lober explained.
“If you can give plasma with these antibodies, your donation could help multiple people who are in the ICU right now,” Lober said.
As of Thursday evening, Eagle County had 452 COVID-19 cases.
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, this region’s Medical Director for Vitalant, you must meet four criteria:
- You need to have a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or a test demonstrating SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. You need a copy of the test result.
- You must be symptom-free for at least 14 days.
- You’ll need a nasopharyngeal swab for COVID-19 that comes back negative.
- You have to qualify as a regular blood donor. Visit Vitalant.org for more information on general blood donation eligibility.
If you’re a Vail Valley resident, Lober is helping to coordinate qualification of donors. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vitalant will only accept medically-referred donors who have recovered from COVID-19 and have shown no symptoms for two weeks.
This ensures that only fully recovered individuals are donating, Vitalant Communications Manager Liz Lambert said.
Two hours to save lives
It takes about two hours for the whole donation process, Lober said. The sooner recovered COVID-19 sufferers meet those four criteria, the sooner they can be qualified to donate plasma.
Vitalant is working with several hospitals, including some in Denver, to qualify donors and collect convalescent plasma. Once donor eligibility is confirmed, Vitalant will work with those hospital partners to collect and process the plasma for treatment in patients with active, serious COVID-19 infections.