Convalescent plasma treatment involves giving blood from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 to someone who is sick with it, in the hope that the antibodies the well person developed will help the sick person fight the disease.
It’s too early to have any large published studies on how effective convalescent plasma is in treating people with COVID-19. But it’s looking promising.
“Small studies that have been published show that if you’re giving convalescent plasma early in disease, in that setting, there’s definitely a benefit for mortality. That means that if you get it compared to those who don’t get it, there is a survival benefit,” said Douglas Brust, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and the principal investigator of a convalescent plasma study at Lee Health.
As the number of cases rises, so does demand for the plasma.
“The need for convalescent plasma is only increasing because, as you see more and more cases of coronavirus happening, not only in Florida but around the country, that is driving increased usage,” said Susan Forbes of Oneblood, a not-for-profit that supplies blood to hospitals throughout Florida and beyond.
“If you’ve recovered from the coronavirus, you really hold a potential key of helping coronavirus patients recover,” she said.
Patients who have recovered can help locally by donating through Lee Health.
“If you’ve had a positive test for SARS COVID 2, that’s the virus that causes COVID 19, and either you were asymptomatic, you never had symptoms and it’s been at least 14 days, or you had symptoms but you’ve been better for at least 14 days, you can come right to Lee Health and donate blood and we will process it to plasma and use it right here in the community for patients that are in the hospital,” said Dr. Brust.
To find out more about donating, email covid.plasma@Leehealth.org.