Recovered COVID-19 patients donate blood to assist critically ill at Baptist

On April 20, Baptist Health began accepting plasma donations from recovered Coronavirus patients to use in the treatment of current COVID-19 patients. The plasma from recovered patients contains antibodies, or proteins in the blood, that can attack the virus and lessen its severity. 

The trial is a partnership with Mayo Clinic and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and is free for donors. Donated plasma will initially be reserved for severe COVID-19 cases at Baptist Health, especially for patients in intensive care. 

“This is an opportunity for recovered COVID-19 patients to aid those who are suffering from the virus right now,” said Ed Gorak, DO, MBA, MS, FACP, head of cancer medicine at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center and the trial’s principal investigator. “We want our COVID-19 patients to have every possible treatment option available to them, and we are excited to add convalescent plasma to our list.”

Recovered COVID-19 patients are eligible to donate if they meet the criteria below, as well as the standard criteria for voluntary blood donation:

  • A laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19
  • Complete resolution of symptoms without fever- or symptom-reducing medication for at least 14 days prior to donation.
  • If it has been fewer than 28 days since the resolution of their symptoms, donors must have a documented negative result by one or more nasal swab specimens or a molecular diagnostic blood test. 
  • If neither of these tests was performed, a positive antibody test confirming the patient has COVID-19 antibodies is acceptable. 

Eligible donors should contact LifeSouth at medicaloffice@lifesouth.org or (352) 224-1770 to set up an appointment and find the LifeSouth location closest to them. They should specify that they are donating to Baptist Health. Each blood donation can benefit two to three patients.  

Jeanine Richmond, RN, clinical research nurse at Baptist Health, will work with physicians to identify COVID-19 patients who might benefit from the use of convalescent plasma. The physician will offer the patient the option of receiving a donation and obtain their consent per FDA requirements.  Physicians interested in learning more about the donation process should contact (904) 202-3885 or Jeanine.Richmond@bmcjax.com.

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