As the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Georgia has reached record highs, there is a critical need for convalescent plasma donors to support the needs of patients currently fighting the coronavirus.
Northside Hospital and Atlanta Blood Services are recruiting recovered COVID-19 patients to participate in an investigational program that involves the collection of “convalescent” plasma for the treatment of certain patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. It is presumed that people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. Individuals who have had a diagnosis of COVID-19 or a positive antibody test, have been asymptomatic for at least 14 days and have a negative test may be eligible to donate plasma.
"We’re committed to collecting as much plasma as we need to help the people throughout the country," said Dr. H. Kent Holland, medical director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Northside Hospital and the Atlanta Blood Services apheresis collection facility.
Since spring 2020, Northside Hospital has had a Phase II study that looks at historical data as a benchmark and will use that benchmark to compare any benefits of convalescent plasma. A subgroup of the trial also looks at health care workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus to see if convalescent plasma reduces the chance of severe infections.
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“We’ve been using convalescent plasma for over 100 years; it was used the Spanish flu, polio, measles, H1NI, Ebola and SARS. There’s a lot of information about doing this and it’s very well understood,” said Dr. Holland. “There’s a lot of work still to be done to show if this will work, but historically it does.”
Qualified plasma donors must meet the following criteria:
- Be healthy.
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have previously tested positive for COVID-19 or had a positive COVID-19 antibody test.
- Have been symptom free for at least 14 days.
- Successfully screen as a blood donor per FDA blood donation guidelines.
For more information about donating plasma or to schedule an appointment, call 404-477-1299 or visit atlantabloodservices.com.