With coronavirus cases continuing to rise worldwide, Versiti, Inc., a national leader in blood health innovation, is seeking plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat community members diagnosed with the virus.
According to the New York Times, in recent days nationally nearly 60 thousand cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed daily. This has led to a high demand for convalescent plasma that could offer hope. In addition to severely affected patients, this treatment is also being used in patients earlier in their illness in an attempt to limit progression of the virus’ effects. .
“As the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, so does the demand for convalescent plasma,” says Thomas Abshire, M.D., Versiti’s Chief Medical Officer. “We saw tremendous initial support from patients who recovered from the infection. We have seen a drop in donations over the past few weeks. Now is a critically important time for those who have recovered from the infection to donate and support COVID patients in need. The donation process is safe and could help save lives.”
“If you are able to donate plasma, it is very important that you try and do so,” said Grace Biermacher, a convalescent plasma donor and student at the University of Michigan. “We need to do everything we can to stop COVID-19. Donating plasma is really easy and knowing that you could be saving lives by doing so is incredibly humbling.”
Versiti blood centers, among the first in the U.S. to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma, is working with its partner hospitals to identify recovered patients. Potential donors can call 1-866-702-HOPE (866-702-4673) to donate or they can visit versiti.org/covid19plasmaDonors must have a documented positive lab test result for COVID-19, and be symptom free for 14 days.
The plasma treatment transfers the antibodies that the recovered patient created into critically ill patients currently receiving care. Because of the investigational nature of this treatment, it is difficult to predict how many plasma infusions a COVID-19 patient may require.
The convalescent plasma donations, which take 30-40 minutes, are collected at Versiti donor centers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The donation process for COVID-19 convalescent plasma is the same as with other plasma donations, and will be performed using an apheresis machine, which separates the blood components.
Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our health care partners nationally. We provide innovative, value added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care and cost efficiencies for health care systems nationwide. For more information, visit versiti.org.