Lakeland Uses Plasma Therapy to Treat COVID-19 Patients
Apr 21, 2020
Antibodies in blood of fully recovered patients may aid in recovery of others
(ST. JOSEPH) – Spectrum Health Lakeland, in collaboration with Versiti Blood Centers, has begun treating COVID-19 patients with blood plasma from patients who have recovered from the disease, providing an additional treatment option to the most severely affected COVID-19 patients. Historically, hospitals have used the treatment, known as “convalescent plasma therapy,” when a new disease spreads rapidly and no other treatments or vaccines are available.
“Locally we have a great need for donors. Each one could potentially save two to six lives if we have successful matching,” said infectious disease specialist, Mark Harrison, MD, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “Spectrum Health Lakeland is excited to introduce convalescent plasma therapy to our patients and we are asking for anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to please reach out to see if they qualify to donate.”
To be considered as donors, patients who have had test-confirmed COVID-19 must be symptom free for at least 14-days. Patients who are interested in donating plasma can complete a questionnaire online through the Versiti donation page. Patients who have not had a formal COVID-19 positive test are not eligible to donate plasma at this time, but researchers are working to potentially achieve this.
“The possibilities presented by this new treatment are encouraging–it is affordable, easy to administer and rarely has side effects,” said infectious disease specialist, Gordana Simeunovic, MD, Spectrum Health.
Spectrum Health is part of the National Convalescent Plasma Project for COVID-19 patients, which includes physician-scientists, universities and hospitals throughout the nation studying the use of convalescent plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients. Spectrum Health has partnered locally with Michigan State University to further this cause.
For more information on donating convalescent plasma, click here.