New COVID-19 treatment needs plasma donations from people who recovered from virus

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33/FOX 44) – There’s a push to get people who have recovered from the Coronavirus to donate their plasma.

Louisiana Senator Dr. Bill Cassidy is one of many medical professionals pushing a new Coronavirus treatment.

“It’s how we can become a healthcare provider while providing plasma,” said Sen. Cassidy.

It involves injecting COVID-19 patients with blood plasma from people who have recovered from the illness. It contains antibodies to the Coronavirus and is known as “convalescent plasma”.

“We’re hoping that plasma along with its antibodies provides kind of an immune system jump start to those who are gravely ill with the virus,” added Benjamin Prijatel, Senior Director Blood Operations for LifeShare Blood Center.

This new treatment is showing promise.

Prijatel explained, “We’ve transfused a couple of units so far into some of the most critically ill patients and we’ve seen signs of recovery from those folks.”

Blood service provider Vitalant just launched a new program for convalescent plasma.

“Making sure that we will have enough patients that are eligible, that are accepted into the program to then come into our facilities and donate plasma,” explained Adam Fontenot, Donor Recruitment Supervisor, Vitalant.

Fontenot said one plasma donation could save three lives.

To be eligible for the Vitalant program,

  • Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test
  • Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days
  • Meet all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma

Clinical trials are underway.

Senator Cassidy added, “If you survived COVID-19, your plasma could save somebody’s life.”

Health experts say your blood type doesn’t matter.

You can apply to be a Vitalant Convalescent Plasma donor here.


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