Bayhealth is using plasma from recovered coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to treat those who are severely ill with the virus. This type of treatment, which originated more than a century ago, is known as convalescent plasma therapy. It involves transferring antibodies from one individual to a blood-matched recipient in order to fight an infection.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently fast-tracked approval of its use as an investigational treatment on those who are very sick from COVID-19. Bayhealth administered plasma to its first COVID-19 patient recently and is currently seeking donors for a convalescent plasma bank program offered in partnership through the Blood Bank of Delmarva.
Bayhealth Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine Physician Pedro Dammert, MD, said that recently published clinical studies show good clinical outcomes with plasma therapy and they’re eager to use this promising treatment on more individuals with COVID-19 infections. “Each donation can provide up to four units of plasma that could help two or three sick patients,” said Dr. Dammert, MD. “Plasma donation is a safe and cost-free way for those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 to give back and potentially save lives.”
One Bayhealth employee, Lindsey Locke, recently became a plasma donor and shared how rewarding the experience was. “I was really excited for my plasma donation appointment. I definitely like to help people—that’s why I became a certified nursing assistant,” said Locke. “Working in the hospital, it was heartbreaking to see patients so sick from COVID-19. I actually felt a sense of guilt that I didn’t get very sick from it, so I knew I wanted to donate my plasma to help those that were suffering more. I hope as many others that are able to can give back by doing the same.”
Candidates for the convalescent plasma bank program are individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered and been symptom-free for at least 14 days, and who meet other typical blood bank requirements. Donors can give plasma multiple times at appropriate time intervals. All plasma donations will go to a general pool to be used for patients at Bayhealth as well as other healthcare facilities who obtain blood products from the Blood Bank of Delmarva. This program is sponsored through a nationwide research initiative at the Mayo Clinic and federally financed so there is no cost to the donor, the recipient or to Bayhealth.
For more details on this program or if you’re interested in being a plasma donor, please contact Coronavirus Management Team member Holly Dapias, RN, at 302-612-1862. Registration is also available at www.delmarvablood.org.