First patient receives ‘convalescent plasma’
A COVID-19 patient at Methodist Hospital Stone Oak on Thursday, April 9 received the first plasma donation in South Texas from someone who has recovered from the infection.
STBTC is collecting “convalescent plasma” donations as part of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational program for U.S. blood centers. The plasma contains antibodies to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and may provide passive immunity to some patients.
“While there are not any proven treatment options currently available for the novel coronavirus, we have patients severely suffering from COVID-19 who could benefit from convalescent plasma therapy,” said Dr. Rick Marple, Methodist Hospital Stone Oak Chief Medical Officer.
“With our primary concern being the safety and care of our patients, we are investigating treatment options that have safely and successful healed patients with this aggressive virus. These therapies have been previously used to treat similar diseases; we believe using convalescent therapy may help neutralize the virus.”
STBTC received the plasma donation on Tuesday from San Antonian David Herrmann, who contracted the virus in March but has since recovered. The plasma was tested by QualTex Laboratories to determine the concentration of antibodies.
The tested plasma is being made available to the network of hospitals STBTC serves.
“We expect that many donors who have experienced COVID-19 will want to do their part to help patients suffering from a severe form of the illness,” said Elizabeth Waltman, COO of STBTC. “We ask that donors remain patient as we work to put the program into place.”
Individuals may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma if they were confirmed with a prior diagnosis for COVID-19 by a laboratory test and have tested negative twice, been free of symptoms for 14 days with one positive test, or have been completely free of symptoms for 28 days.
Plasma collection from recovered COVID-19 patients will not take place at a current STBTC donor room. A dedicated blood collection team has been created to work with those donating convalescent plasma.
Recovered patients who meet the criteria, along with all FDA requirements for blood donation, can learn more about participating by emailing COVID19@southtexasblood.org.
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