Plasma from COVID-19 patients may help others recover
Posted on: October 21, 2020
The UofSC College of Pharmacy Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SSHP) recently partnered with The Blood Connection and UofSC Student Health Services for a Convalescent Plasma Blood Drive with faculty, students and staff.
Convalescent plasma has been used by UofSC and Prisma Health physicians to treat local COVID-19 patients with encouraging results, according to Phillip Buckhaults, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Cancer Genetics Lab in the College of Pharmacy, but finding donors has been challenging. “The supply of plasma donors is limited, because most people who have life-saving antibodies simply do not know that they do,” says Buckhaults.”
If enough of our students do this, UofSC will make very important contributions to science and medicine, and will very likely save many lives throughout South Carolina.
Phillip Buckhaults, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Director, Cancer Genetics Lab
The college’s Saliva Assay Free Expedited (SAFE) testing program has helped to create a larger supply of potential donors, especially among students. “If enough of our students do this, UofSC will make very important contributions to science and medicine, and will very likely save many lives throughout South Carolina,” Buckhaults adds. “I see great potential for our students to make positive national news by doing this. Convalescent plasma is, and always has been my most ambitious hope for the SAFE testing program.”
Forty students, faculty and staff participated in the drive and were able to donate 33 units of plasma. Third-year students Olivia Schad and Kylie Kistler, who served as project chairs, were excited to see so many people willing to donate. “The drive was so important because of its direct impact on our local community. These donations will save countless lives and help patients with COVID-19 recover faster," says Schad. “I think many of the donors chose to donate because they understood how great the need was for donors “
One person donating plasma can help up to four different patients ... We were able to far exceed our initial goal for donations.
Kylie Kistler, Pharm.D. Candidate
Kistler hopes to help educate more people who recovered from COVID-19 on how they can help others. “One person donating plasma can help up to four different patients,” she says. “We were able to far exceed our initial goal for donations.”
The group hopes to plan additional convalescent plasma donation drives in the future. For those interested in donating plasma, UofSC students and faculty who have completed their quarantine after a positive infection can contact The Blood Connection, located in Russell House on campus, and arrange to be screened for ant-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and to donate their plasma. To learn more about donating convalescent plasma, visit The Blood Connection.