Donors needed for possible COVID-19 treatment

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DENVER — Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado need help from donors for a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Those who have recovered from coronavirus can donate their plasma to help those still sick with the virus. The process is called convalescent plasma. The plasma from those who have recovered contains antibodies to defeat the virus. That plasma is infused into a patient who is currently sick and hasn’t been able to build enough antibodies to fight the virus.

Dr. Kyle Annen, medical director for Transfusion Service, said this is not a cure, but a way to reduce the viral amount in patients, and help them get ahead of the virus. This treatment is only available to people in the ICU, in the most critical condition, because of the difficulty to obtain the plasma.

“The test for COVID-19 virus has to have been confirmed in order to be eligible to donate and they have to be well for 14 days,” Annen said. “A lot of people have been sick and they haven’t been able to get tested, so we’re trying to find people who have both of those components in order to donate, so I think that has been the challenge for everyone.”

Children’s Hospital Colorado is just one of three hospitals in the country, along with Mount Sinai in New York City, collecting plasma.

While Dr. Annen said it’s too early to know if this treatment is working for COVID-19 patients, she said convalescent plasma has been used in the past for H1N1, the previous SARS, and Ebola, so there is precedent to believe this works.

To donate you must have had a positive COVID-19 test, have been symptom free for 14 days, and qualify for regular blood donations. If you believe you qualify for plasma donations, you can contact Children’s Hospital Colorado at convalescentplasma@childrenscolorado.org or call (720) 777-3557.

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