With the need for "convalescent plasma" to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients ramping up as cases rise, Banner Research is providing donation coordinators in metro Phoenix, Tucson and Northern Colorado to help recovered COVID-19 patients get through the plasma donation process. The donation coordinators are equipped to assess qualifying criteria for potential donors, answer questions and explain how the donation process works.
Banner Health is part of a nationwide expanded access program designed to recruit plasma donors and use the valuable blood component as part of the treatment protocol for COVID-19 patients. A single plasma donation can be used for multiple patients. Those who have completely recovered from COVID-19 may have immune-boosting antibodies in their blood called convalescent plasma, which could be used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.
This week, the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson Blood Bank received its first unit of convalescent plasma to treat a COVID-19 patient in the ICU. While this is still an investigational new drug, there is hope the product will provide some therapeutic benefit.
The Food and Drug Administration recently allowed the transfusion of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment. It’s currently the only antibody treatment available for COVID-19 patients.
"Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for the recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their valuable plasma," said Chad Jaeger, senior director of Operations with Banner Research. "The more information and assistance we can provide to put our recovered patients at ease and get them qualified quickly, the better, and our Donation Coordinators are equipped to do just that."
Current eligibility criteria for plasma donation include:
Recovered COVID-19 patients can register directly with Vitalant or American Red Cross blood donation centers. Former patients who believe they meet the donation criteria also may reach out to a Donation Coordinator for assistance. They are: