St. Luke's Hospital

Recovered COVID-19 patients can help others through convalescent plasma donations

There are hundreds of people in the Northland who donate blood on a regular basis. Some of those generous folks also go an additional step and donate plasma, which is used in a number of medical therapies–in emergencies, for cancer patients and those with bleeding disorders. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, another use has been developed–convalescent plasma.

The antibodies from convalescent plasma–which is plasma from someone who has had a positive COVID-19 test and has recovered–is being used to treat patients with COVID-19.

While the efficacy of convalescent plasma is still being studied, it appears that this could be a lifesaving treatment.

According to Wendy Capetz of the Memorial Blood Center, since the beginning of the pandemic, the Memorial Blood Center has collected and distributed 1,000s of units of convalescent plasma.

Capetz noted that convalescent plasma is not new–it was in fact used during the 1918 Spanish Flu. For anyone who would like to learn more about the origin of convalescent plasma, she suggests reading this article.

There is a criteria for donating convalescent plasma. Not everyone who has had COVID-19 is eligible. The donor must meet the regular FDA guidelines for giving blood. However, Capetz said anyone who has recovered and is generally healthy and feeling well should be eligible.

To learn more, visit the Memorial Blood Center convalescent plasma website.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Wendy Capetz about all this.