Dr. Eduardo Oliveira, executive medical director for critical care services at AdventHealth was joined yesterday morning by Susan Forbes, senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations at OneBlood to discuss the critical need for convalescent plasma donors. Together they briefed the media during AdventHealth's Morning Briefing on the latest COVID-19 information.
The good news that was emphasized by Dr. Oliveira was that patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to donate convalescent plasma for others who are infected with the virus.
“It’s bad news because you got COVID, good news that you recovered from it, and even better news that now you can help others recover who did not have the chance to produce those antibodies to defend themselves,” said Oliveira.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck situation at OneBlood,” said Forbes. “We've had over a 500% increase in hospital orders coming in, so the need for these donors is enormous. They're playing a key role in helping patients, and they are urgently needed to come forward to help. Donors really are the unsung heroes in our community who are playing a huge role in helping save lives.”
Forbes encouraged eligible donors to register at OneBlood.org for the convalescent plasma donation process. Convalescent plasma donations may be made every 28 days.
The importance of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19. Convalescent plasma has been used successfully for the past 50-60 years with some success and was used in SARS and MERS epidemics a few years ago. It is now helpful in treating COVID-19. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood that help block the virus and their plasma can be used in transfusions to help others who are battling active infections.
Convalescent plasma treatments lead to better outcomes for COVID-19 patients. AdventHealth has used convalescent plasma in nearly 300 patients in various stages of COVID-19. In some cases, it has kept the illness in patients from progressing to where they would need to be in the ICU. In cases where patients are very ill in the ICU or on ventilators, convalescent plasma has helped accelerate the healing process and helped patients recover much faster.
OneBlood has an urgent need for recovered COVID-19 patients as plasma donors. As the blood provider for local hospitals, OneBlood is collecting convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19, seven days a week. Potential donors are asked to register in advance on oneblood.org and those who fit the criteria will be able to set up an appointment for collection.
Dr. Oliveira said COVID-19 patients who receive convalescent plasma may also be treated with antiviral, steroid or other medications to treat the coronavirus.
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