Many of you have tested positive for COVID-19 either in our office or in the hospital and now are recovering or fully recovered. For the fully recovered patients, I would like to ask for your help.
Convalescent plasma transfusion is a therapy that may help seriously ill COVID-19 infected patients. This is how it works. We take a plasma donation, much like a blood donation, from a fully recovered COVID-19 positive patient. This plasma is theoretically rich in COVID-19 antibodies. We believe these antibodies can attack and kill the COVID-19 virus. Before transfusion into the recipient patient, we test the plasma to make sure it does not contain other viruses such as HIV or hepatitis. Once cleared from other infection, the plasma is transfused into patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 infection.
Convalescent plasma transfusion is not a new therapy. It has been successfully used for many years. Specifically, it has been used in SARS, the H1N1 pandemic, Avian Flu and Ebola. We are not clear, at this point however, if it is effective against COVID-19. In certain situations, such as life-threatening illness, we are using it in the hospital to give critically ill patients a fighting chance.
Today I spoke with a Red Cross clinical representative. The Red Cross is actively seeking patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered. They are in the process of setting up this plasma donation infrastructure for the nation. If you have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, please strongly consider becoming a plasma donor.
To register, go to www.RedCrossBlood.org. Under the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program, click on the red learn more button. And then click on the plus sign next to the potential donor section. Please fill out this form to become a potential donor. If the person registering does not use the internet they can call the Red Cross Special Collections directly at 1-800-458-5093.
Thank you for your help with this effort.
Stay Well and Stay Home,
Dr. Edward Espinosa
Buckhead Medicine