EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso is asking residents who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma to help others in our community.
Officials said the objective is to provide patients who have severe cases of the disease with a transfusion of the plasma that contains COVID-19 antibodies which may help patients who are struggling with the virus to overcome their illness.
“We have to remember that the reason this virus is so serious is that unless we have had the disease, our bodies do not have the proper antibodies to fight it,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, Local City-County Health Authority. “El Pasoans are known for their generous response when faced with a crisis and so we are asking that COVID-19 patients, who have recovered, to consider donating what might be lifesaving plasma.”
Donations can be made via Vitalant, which is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers.
Health officials said that donors must have a prior laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, either by a positive swab test OR a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. They must also complete the resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days and meet all other donor eligibility for an automated plasma donation.
More information and the donor questionnaire can be found at: http://learn.vitalant.org/convalescentplasma. Potential donors who have questions may call 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762).
Using convalescent plasma is not a new form of treatment for diseases, according to health officials. The concept goes back to the 1880s. The Food and Drug Administration is allowing the transfusion of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment, and it is currently the only antibody treatment available for COVID-19 patients.
Vitalant is working with hospitals to collect, process and distribute the plasma for treatment in patients with active, serious COVID-19 infections.