RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — At the beginning of May, Monument Health began using donated plasma to treat patients severely affected by COVID-19. It is part of the Mayo Clinic research project.
Plasma is the liquid part of the blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body. In patients who have had COVID-19, the plasma also contains antibodies that may fight the virus.
“Convalescent plasma has been used in a lot of virus treatments, particularly respiratory viruses like SARS and MERS and they know that it’s been successful in those cases and that’s why they’re using it now,” Danielle High Bear, Lab Interim Manager for Monument Health, said.
Donors must have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, either through a nasal test for active virus or antibody blood test, and have been symptom-free for 28 days.
“They actually take out whole blood and they spin it down and they return the red cells to the donor and just keep the plasma portion. So when they start donating, they can donate once a month to continue helping people,” High Bear said.
The plasma treatment trial is still being researched. Dr. David Kovaleski says outcomes have varied.
“It depends on the person. The things we’ve seen can be dramatic. People can turn around, other times it doesn’t work and that’s why studying it and trying to do it in a step-wise fashion and trying to get some data to try and see if it really works,”Dr. David Kovaleski, Respiratory Care Medical Director, said.
Monument Health is actively looking for plasma donors.
If you are interested in donating plasma for severe COVID-19 patients and meet the requirements, you can check out this link.