Reid Health is working with Mayo Clinic in a program that will treat COVID-19 patients with plasma from recovered patients and seeks donations of that plasma from local residents.
“Treatment with convalescent plasma is an old strategy that has been used for more than 100 years to convey passive immunity from someone who has recovered from an infectious disease to someone who is ill,” said Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at Reid Health.
He said the treatment is typically tried when an infectious disease is serious with little to no treatment options, as is the case with COVID-19.
Huth said the treatment is showing promise in China, Europe and on the west coast of the United States. “Many doctors and organizations are interested in trying convalescent plasma in hopes that it will prevent the most serious complications of the disease, save lives and reduce demand on health care system resources.”
The health system is launching a donor drive this week, encouraging recovered COVID-19 patients to consider becoming plasma donors.
Matthew Vail, M.D., Infectious Disease Specialist with Reid Health, said Reid’s participation in the program is great news for patients being treated for the virus.
“This offers great potential in helping with our limited options for treating this virus,” he said.
Donors will need to have tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks. The treatment will be offered to hospitalized patients who are at high risk of having to go on a ventilator or those patients already receiving ventilation therapy.
The donation process involves drawing whole blood from a donor, then separating plasma that contains antibodies. Donors have to give at the Community Blood Center in Dayton because Reid Health does not have specialized equipment to take the donations. The program is following Mayo protocols and sharing data.
To register, visit: www.ReidHealth.org/donateplasma or call (765) 973-8082, or email COVIDPlasma.Donation@ReidHealth.org