Stanford begins plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients

One approach to treating those battling COVID-19 is providing blood transfusions from people who have already recovered from the illness. While its efficacy is not yet understood, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the investigational treatment.

“One possible treatment being studied is convalescent plasma, which is collected from individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Dr. Suchi Pandey, Chief Medical Officer at Stanford Blood Center.

Stanford Blood Center and Stanford Medicine are combining skill sets to move this prospective therapy forward, at an expedited speed. It hopes that plasma from recovered patients will transfer antibodies to recipients, reducing the duration of illness.

Pandley continued, “These antibodies, when transfused into a patient ill with COVID-19, may be effective against the infection and help improve the patient’s clinical outcome.”

Collection is beginning this week, ramping up in the coming weeks as officials identify more potential donors recovering from the virus. West Valley residents can demonstrate interest in donating by filling out this form.

Donor requirements

There are a number of conditions on plasma donation:

  • Donors must have had a positive COVID-19 test. When antibody testing is available, lab evidence of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) antibodies will qualify.
  • Donors must have recovered and be symptom free for at least 14 days.
    • For those 14-28 days post symptoms, a COVID-19 test will be administered and a negative result is required.
    • For those more than 28 days post symptoms, a negative test is not required.
  • Donors must also meet standard blood eligibility requirements.

Plasma donations are conducted through a standard apheresis plasma donation, which takes about one to two hours, according to Stanford officials. The process draws whole blood, separates plasma out, and returns the rest of the blood to the donor.

Meanwhile, the need for standard blood donations, from healthy individuals, remains high.