Vitalant – working in conjunction with its hospital partners – has launched a program to treat COVID-19 patients with blood plasma donated by individuals who have recovered from the disease. This blood component, known as “convalescent plasma,” contains antibodies that may provide seriously ill patients an extra boost in fighting the disease.
There currently are neither vaccines nor proven treatments for COVID-19, because the virus is so new. Although trials for a vaccine are underway, it is expected to be months before one is approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified and approved convalescent plasma treatment as an “emergency investigational new drug.” It is currently the only antibody treatment available to COVID-19 patients and, as such, is a promising new tool.
Vitalant is collecting convalescent plasma – by appointment only – at its locations in Montvale, Paramus, and Parsippany, NJ. Those interested in donating plasma are encouraged to apply through the Vitalant website Vitalant.org/covidfree. Additional details are available by calling 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762).
“This is an example of the medical and research communities coming together to effect real change during this pandemic,” said Maria De Los Angeles Muñiz, MD, Medical Director at Vitalant’s Montvale, NJ location. “Convalescent plasma is a promising response tool for fighting COVID-19 in patients, and potentially for those working on the front lines.”
Eligibility criteria for convalescent plasma donors are:
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test
- Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days
- Meet all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma
Even for those who meet these requirements, additional tests may be required. In some instances, those who have recovered from COVID-19 may be able to donate, even if they did not have an initial laboratory test.