If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Because you fought the infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies. These antibodies provided one way for your immune system to fight the virus when you were sick, so your plasma may be able to be used to help others fight off the disease.
What is Convalescent Plasma?
Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.
COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in the blood against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19.
I Have Fully Recovered From COVID-19. Am I Eligible to Donate Plasma?
People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating plasma, which may help save the lives of other patients. COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood.
Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria. Individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days before they donate, or alternatively have no symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation and have a negative lab test for active COVID-19 disease.
I Haven’t Had COVID-19. What Can I Do to Help?
You can consider donating blood! One blood donation can save up to three lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges to the U.S. blood supply. Donor centers have experienced a dramatic reduction in donations due to the implementation of social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives.
Blood is needed every day to provide lifesaving treatments to a variety of patients. You can help ensure that blood continues to be available for patients by finding a blood donor center near you to schedule your donation. Several sites also have information about donating plasma.
Further investigation is still necessary to determine if convalescent plasma is safe and effective as a treatment for COVID-19, and whether it might shorten the duration of illness, reduce morbidity, or prevent death associated with COVID-19. For more information about what the FDA is doing, see Recommendations for Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.
For more information about how the U.S. Government is supporting a national effort to collect and provide convalescent plasma to patients in need across the country, see the National Expanded Access Treatment ProtocolExternal Link Disclaimer. The protocol requires the patient or their health care proxy to consent to receiving convalescent plasma from someone who has recovered from COVID-19. Only hospitalized COVID-19 patients who meet certain criteria and who are referred by their health care provider will participate in this protocol.
Mayo Clinic is serving as the lead institution for the protocol, working collaboratively with industry, academic, and government partners.
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