Plasma Donations for COVID-19 Patients: What You Need to Know

Text reads: Plasma donations for COVID-19 patients: What you need to know
Last updated at 10:30 am Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Luminis Health is participating in a national study sponsored by the FDA and Mayo Clinic to collect “convalescent” plasma from recovered coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, to give to patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19-related illness.

The approach involves transferring antibodies from recovered patients to those still acutely ill as means of therapy. This is not currently a preventative treatment at the current time.

What is plasma and convalescent plasma?

Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood. It contains factors that help with blood clotting and  contains antibodies that fight infections. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 will have antibodies to the virus  in their blood plasma that might help protect them against future infections. Whether or not this works is the purpose of the study.

What is a convalescent plasma donation?

Donors who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood plasma to help protect against future infections. These antibodies can be collected from the recovered donor and infused safely to patients with acute COVID-related illness. 

What is involved in donating?

Donors must have had a positive swab test from the nasal pharynx.

Donors must be symptom free (no fever, cough, fatigue or shortness of breath) for at least 14 days before they can donate plasma. Potential eligible donors should complete a donor eligibility screening form. Someone will then contact you to gather more details, such as medical history and COVID-19 history to determine eligibility.

What is involved in donating plasma?

During a plasma donation, blood is drawn from your arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells and platelets back to you, along with some salt water through another intravenous line. It only takes a few minutes longer than donating blood.

Is convalescent plasma a proven treatment for COVID-19?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is not currently known if convalescent plasma will be an effective treatment against COVID-19. Since there are no known effective treatments, multiple options are under investigation by the scientific community. Some information from prior infections suggests that convalescent plasma could help some COVID-19 patients — especially those who are hospitalized. Since plasma transfusions are generally safe for most patients, the FDA announced an initiative to investigate this as a treatment option. We are committed to assisting with plasma collections from carefully-screened recovered COVID-19 patients to enable rapid access to treatment for the most seriously ill patients.

I don’t have a positive COVID-19 test, but am certain I had it, can I still participate? Thank you for your willingness to donate convalescent plasma to help patients.

You may still qualify if your blood contains COVID-19 antibodies, however, at this time we do not have a process by which antibody testing can be done. We encourage you to fill out our donor eligibility screening form and we will contact you to provide a sample for antibody testing once it’s available.