COVID-19 response: UofSC partners with The Blood Connection to collect plasma donations from recovered patients
Plasma donations from recovered patients will be used to help patients who are fighting COVID
The University of South Carolina has partnered with The Blood Connection to establish a site to collect convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.
A national study sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Mayo Clinic is examining the use of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, known as convalescent plasma, to treat patients who are currently suffering from the virus. Physicians hope the antibodies in the donor plasma will neutralize the virus in these ill patients and improve outcomes.
Dr. Helmut Albrecht, chair of the internal medicine department at the School of Medicine Columbia and lead investigator for the Midlands portion of the trial, says the treatment is showing great promise.
“The turnaround we have seen in some of our initial patients has been remarkable, which has made us very interested to treat additional patients with this approach,” Albrecht says. “For us to be able to do that, we will need significantly more plasma donors and plasma donations.” University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia faculty members practicing at Prisma Health were the first in the state to administer convalescent plasma treatment.
The University of South Carolina’s collaboration with The Blood Connection is a hopeful step forward in discovering effective treatments for COVID-19 in our community, state and nation.
President Bob Caslen
While The Blood Connection has done plasma collection drives in the region using mobile vans, including the first convalescent plasma collection drives in the state, this collaboration will create the first stationary collection site for convalescent plasma in the Midlands. A more permanent site will increase the ability to accept local donations significantly. The blood and plasma collection site, which opened on May 5, is housed at the UofSC Center for Health and Well-Being. The site is operational from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The University of South Carolina’s collaboration with The Blood Connection is a hopeful step forward in discovering effective treatments for COVID-19 in our community, state and nation,” UofSC President Bob Caslen says. “Now more than ever, it’s vital that we work together, and I encourage everyone who meets the criteria to sign up and donate plasma in support of this cause.”
To be eligible to donate plasma for COVID-19 patients, donors must either have had a positive COVID-19 test and been asymptomatic for at least 14 days, or if patients have not had a formal diagnosis of COVID-19, they must have had a positive antibody test.
Local clinicians currently are working to identify and contact potential donors. Potential donors should call 864-751-1168 to be screened. The Blood Connection also will be accepting whole blood donations from healthy, eligible donors at the UofSC site. To schedule a blood donation, text “USC” to 70547.
“The Blood Connection is extremely grateful and excited for this partnership with the University of South Carolina. Together, through convalescent plasma and whole blood donations, we will be able to save more lives in this community,” says Dr. Robert Rainer, medical director for The Blood Connection.
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