Franciscan Health is participating in a national study spearheaded by the Mayo Clinic to investigate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in treating patients infected with COVID-19.
Convalescent plasma is blood plasma collected from people who have already recovered from the virus, according to Franciscan Health.
“Convalescent plasma has been used since the 1800s to help people infected with different viruses and bacteria,” said Dr. Erica Kaufman West, infectious disease specialist for Franciscan Health. “The idea behind convalescent plasma is that if we take the antibodies from a patient who has recovered from an infection, and give them to a patient who is sick from that same infection, those antibodies may help that sick patient fight off the disease faster.”
Convalescent plasma is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as an investigational product. By participating in the Mayo Clinic study, Franciscan Health is helping to find its effectiveness in treating severely ill patients.
Franciscan Health said plasma donations are needed from those who have recovered from the virus.
“Donating plasma is donating blood, except that you’ll get your platelets and red blood cells back,” Kaufman West said. “Just the plasma will be taken. The same requirements for blood donation apply and you must be free of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days to be eligible.”
Individuals can donate blood every 56 days and a plasma donation every 28 days.
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