Lee Health seeks plasma donors, refill supply for COVID-19 study

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Lee Health
Credit: WINK News.

Lee Health says it’s in urgent need of convalescent plasma donations to help refill supply levels.

According to the press release, “As a registered participating site in Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Study, it is vital that Lee Health’s supply remains stocked to continue to make progress in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Here’s how the donation program works at Lee Health:

  • Individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 whose symptoms have resolved for at least 14 days can volunteer to donate blood
  • Donors are screened by clinical personnel with questions and tests to make sure they are appropriate to donate blood that will be processed to make COVID-19 convalescent plasma
  • To volunteer, call 239-343-2332 or email COVID.plasma@LeeHealth.org (E-mail preferred)
  • Documented routine blood donation consent is required; forms provided by Lee Health.
  • If potential donors are appropriate, an appointment for blood donation is scheduled at a Lee Health donation site

Convalescent plasma refers to blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19. That plasma is then used to treat others with advanced illness as part of the clinical trial. The blood donor must have had a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), be symptom free for at least 14 days and be otherwise eligible to donate blood. The procedure is the same as any routine blood donation. After donation, the blood is processed in the lab to obtain the plasma component. The patient is transfused with the donor’s convalescent plasma, which contains antibodies that may attack the virus and may help the patient recover more rapidly.

“Preliminary results from COVID-19 patients treated with convalescent plasma at Mount Sinai in NYC, the epicenter of COVID-19 in the USA, indicate that the therapy improves clinical outcomes, including mortality,” said Doug Brust, M.D. in the press release, an infectious diseases physician with Lee Physician Group and the principal investigator of the trial at Lee Health. “Because there is no known safe and effective treatment for COVID-19, we want to be able to offer our patients the opportunity to enroll in a convalescent plasma clinical trial to treat their COVID-19. For that to happen, we need community members who have recovered from COVID-19 to contact us to donate blood.”

Lee Health says all donations collected by Lee Health stay in its community and are used exclusively for Lee Health patients.

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