Colorado Springs man credits convalescent plasma in his fight against COVID-19

Coronavirus

COLORADO SPRINGS — Across Colorado, hospitals are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients. Kevin Wood, being one of them, spent seven days in the hospital fighting the deadly coronavirus.

Wood stated he was admitted into UCHealth Memorial North after struggling with oxygen levels. He said he was lacking energy, coughing and gasping for air.

“Even if I just took a sip of water or juice, I would have to huff and puff because drinking liquids was really difficult,” Wood said.

Wood said on a Friday night the doctors told him they would be giving him convalescent plasma, according to UCHealth doctors which is plasma from patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and they are encouraging those who have to donate the convalescent plasma after they recover.

“It really makes a huge difference in someone else’s life. Their energy and life comes back so much quicker,” Wood said.

Wood said the difference in how he felt between Friday night and Saturday was significant.

“With no cure currently available for the disease that has killed more than 235,000 people in the United States, numerous studies are underway to determine whether convalescent plasma, which contains antibodies to the virus, helps boost a patient’s immune system to help fight the virus,” Erin Emery, with UCHealth stated.

Wood is back home just in time for Thanksgiving. He said his daughter, in Ohio, also tested positive for COVID-19 and is planning on donating her plasma.

“At the start of this pandemic, we thought giving convalescent plasma was a good idea, but now we have good evidence across the country that it reduces the risk of death by 20% to up to 40%,” Dr. Steven Schuster, a hematologist and medical director of oncology research for UCHealth said. “This is a big deal and so we are using more of it.

How do you qualify to donate convalescent plasma?

According to UCHealth, COVID-19 convalescent plasma may only be collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19. You must have:

  • A prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test.
  • Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days before the donation.
  • Experienced symptoms within the last three months.
  • Met all the requirements for blood donation.

After the first convalescent plasma donation, the plasma is given a titer test to determine antibody strength. Read more about donating convalescent plasma.

Where can I donate convalescent plasma?

  • In Longmont, Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Estes Park: Fill out this form or contact Kaitlin Zobel with the Garth Englund Blood Donation Center in Fort Collins: 970-495-8987.
  • For those outside of the Fort Collins area, you may find additional information, donation opportunities and see if you qualify to donate blood or convalescent plasma by visiting Vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).

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