CORONAVIRUS

Blood Center seeks COVID-19 survivors as plasma donors

Therapy could help people get better faster, FDA decides

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center advertises a mobile blood drive in June 2018 in Hiawatha. The ceneter on Mo
The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center advertises a mobile blood drive in June 2018 in Hiawatha. The ceneter on Monday asked for donations of plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19, to give to patients who have the disease, a therapy that could help them recover faster. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is seeking plasma donations from patients who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection to help those currently fighting the disease.

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of a new experimental treatment for the coronavirus called convalescent plasma therapy, which involves taking plasma from an individual who has survived a COVID-19 infection.

Experts say this plasma will have antibodies to help fight the infection. According to the blood center, this treatment has been used to treat patients with Ebola, SARS and H1N1 influenza.

“Our teams have moved quickly to develop processes and protocol to provide convalescent plasma for the hospitals we serve,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Parejko said in a statement. “While this treatment is not a cure, it might help alleviate the symptoms patients experience with COVID-19.

“If we can help take a patient off a ventilator or get them out of the hospital, it will help patients return to good health and free up precious resources when they are needed most.”

Plasma only will be collected from donors with a laboratory-confirmed test of the disease, but they must be fully recovered from their COVID-19 infection. Donors must be at least 28 days from the last date they experienced symptoms.

Potential donors who are 14 to 28 days from the last date of symptoms would be required to have a negative test done by a nasal swab, officials said.

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In addition, each donor must be referred to the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center by their physician, who “must provide certain information to qualify the donor,” according to the statement.

For additional information, potential donors and doctors can email inquiries to patientservices@mvrbc.org.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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