Recovered COVID-19 patients could hold the key; Plasma might help others

Posted at 7:23 PM, Apr 10, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you’re a recovering COVID-19 patient, the Kentucky Blood Center could really use your help. And what they really need is your plasma.

“The FDA approved, about two weeks ago, and experimental trial using plasma from coronavirus patients who have recovered,” Mandy Brajuha from the Kentucky Blood Center said. “What we’ve heard is there are cautious signs of optimistic hope."

Brajuha was referencing two patients in critical condition who seem to be responding to a plasma donation from a recovered donor.

“They’re not doing any worse, which immediately was a good sign for us,” Brajuha said.

Brajuha said a donor must be free of the virus for at least 14-28 days and their follow up test must come back negative. Once that happens, the donor’s healthy plasma contains antibodies which could assist in the fight against the virus.

“It has worked in the past, and they’ve seen some benefits in doing this with other outbreaks like SARS, or Ebola,” Brajuha added.

Brajuha said the process of donating plasma takes about one hour. That is longer than a traditional blood donation. But unlike a blood donation, giving plasma won’t leave the donor feeling as “depleted” as you might after giving blood.

“It’s going to take plasma from your blood, then return the red blood cells and platelets,” Brajuha explained.

She also said there’s one other thing that makes a plasma donation a little easier.

“The needle is much smaller!”

But the impact, right now, could be much larger.

If you are interested in donating plasma to the Kentucky Blood Center, click here.