First donor contributes to STBTC convalescent plasma donor program
Local real estate entrepreneur David Herrmann on Tuesday became the first San Antonian to donate as part of STBTC’s convalescent plasma program.
The program is designed to collect plasma from people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection and then transfuse it in 200-ml doses to severely ill patients. The hope is that antibodies in the plasma will help the patients fight the viral infection.
A typical donation can help four to five patients. The process recently was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it is part of a national clinical trial.
Herrmann, 54, said he probably was infected during a skiing trip to Crested Butte, Colorado, in March. He had a regular checkup with his just three days after his return, and he had enough symptoms to warrant a COVID-19 test.
“I was surprised to get a positive test,” he said. “I only had a small fever for a couple of days. The main symptom, which I found on Google, was I lost my sense of taste and smell for a few days.”
Participants in the convalescent program, which is being launched at blood centers around the country, must test negative twice for the infection or wait 28 days after the end of symptoms, or wait 14 days after the end of symptoms with one negative test. Herrmann said he has had two negative results.
“I just happened to read about the program, and I asked my doctor about it and I asked my family,” he said. “I felt like it was the right thing to do, to give back to my community.”
Herrmann, who said the sight of blood makes him queasy, had never donated blood or components.
The concept of convalescent plasma is not a new one, as it has been used as far back as the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and a measles outbreak during the 1930s. It was successfully employed in response to an Ebola outbreak as well.
To find out more about the program, send an email to COVID19@southtexasblood.org.
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