SAN DIEGO — A recent San Diego Blood Bank call for recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma generated 17 units that were given to local patients fighting the illness, it was announced Wednesday.
While COVID-19 has no proven treatment, plasma taken from those who have recovered may help patients currently fighting the virus.
Experience with historical infectious diseases -- including the influenza strain of 1918, sudden acute respiratory syndrome, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome and influenza H1N1 -- have shown that convalescent plasma can be a beneficial viral treatment and prophylactic medicine, according to the blood bank.
"I look forward to advancing the COVID-19 treatment and research efforts of our hospital providers and offering new hope to the COVID-19 patients we serve. Our efforts place SDBB at the leading edge of transfusion medicine in the face of this pandemic," said Dr. Mark Edmunds, chief medical officer of the San Diego Blood Bank.
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One donation can support multiple patients.
"I think so many of us are eager to be of service at this time," said Alena Silberman, a New York City resident who recently came to San Diego to visit family in Solana Beach.
She believes she may have contracted the virus prior to landing in San Diego and plans to donate more convalescent plasma locally and in New York.
"As soon as I learned about the plasma donation process I applied right away. It felt like a no-brainer to me," she said.
The San Diego Blood Bank has created a form where potential donors can submit their contact information.
Individuals can donate convalescent plasma if they have a confirmed positive laboratory test and no COVID-19 symptoms for the last 28 days. People with a subsequent confirmed negative test can donate after 14 days of symptom resolution.
People are encouraged to fill out the form even if they have not yet been tested since antibody tests will be available in the future.
To submit contact information to be qualified as a convalescent plasma donor, visit Sandiegobloodbank.org/donateplasma. Donors will also need to meet routine donor screening criteria.
To make an appointment to donate blood or make a financial donation, visit SanDiegoBloodBank.org. Donors must be 17 years or older, weigh a minimum of 114 pounds and be in general good health.