Recovered COVID-19 patients asked to donate plasma for new research with Ballad Health

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, April 16, 2020

Ballad Health is now calling on recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma.
The announcement came during a media briefing on Thursday. The new research into the virus comes as a partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Plasma from recovered patients is believed to have antibodies in them against the virus. This is known as convalescent plasma.
“One of the reasons patients with COVID-19 are able to fight off this disease is because their blood is able to produce substances called antibodies, which go and knock this disease off,” said Dr. Amit Vashist, Chief Clinical Officer for Ballad Health. “What we have also seen is that in certain other viral infections, in fact many other viral infections, the use of a product of blood called plasma antibodies takes care of treating patients with the illness.”
It is believed that these antibodies from recovered patients can be used to help those who remain critically ill with the virus.
Dr. Evan Kulbacki, a pathologist at Highlands Pathology at Holston Valley Medical Center and Director of Marsh Regional Blood Center, said they are asking anyone who has fully recovered from the virus to consider donating.
Those who are being asked to donate should have had a positive test result and have been symptom-free for 14 days.
Once plasma has been collected, it will be given to patients who are hospitalized with the virus and respiratory compromised.
“We are never going to play the role of God,” said Dr. Metzger, system chair of research. “We are going to try to make this as available as possible. The hope is that the blood bank will be enough donors and we won’t even have to consider it.”
Kulbacki went on to say during the briefing that recovered patients will be able to donate plasma more than once if they want to. Donations can be frozen for up to one year and remain helpful to those who need it.
Alan Levine, CEO of Ballad, and Metzger both went on to agree that there cannot be too many donors. Should supplies not be needed here, they can be sent to more areas more affected by the virus.
If you, or someone you know, has COVID-19, or has recovered from the virus (confirmed), you can contact the Marsh Regional Blood Center at 423-408-7500.
“I plead with you at this time, if you know anyone who has had a positive test from COVID, or you yourself have, and have fully recovered, please contact Marsh Regional Blood Center and see if they would be eligible for donation,” said Kulbacki.

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