RWJBarnabas Health is seeking convalescent plasma donations from former patients and others who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for its convalescent plasma program.
The blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 is used in the treatment of patients currently infected with the virus. The convalescent plasma is transfused into patients who match the stringent criteria and who have serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, according to information provided by RWJBarnabas.
All RWJBarnabas Health acute care hospitals are participating in the Mayo Clinic’s clinical trial, as well as selected patients who will be in the individual experimental arm, on the use of convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19 patients, according to the statement. The hospitals do not collect convalescent plasma. The plasma is obtained from the blood banks with which RWJBarnabas Health has contracts – the American Red Cross and the New York Blood Center – where the convalescent plasma is collected. Patients who have recovered at RWJBarnabas Health facilities are being notified of this collection process.
Requests that donations be directed to a specific patient are not being accepted at this time.
On March 25, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized compassionate use of convalescent plasma for patients infected with the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The effectiveness of such treatments has not yet been proven in treating COVID-19 and the convalescent plasma therapy remains an experimental procedure. The limiting factors to this procedure include the amount of product available due to low levels of antibodies, the need to match convalescent plasma to a patient’s blood type — the same as any blood product — and the two-week wait the donor must be negative after recovering from COVID-19, according to the statement.
The American Red Cross and the New York Blood center, in conjunction with the FDA, are looking for volunteers of fully recovered COVID-19 patients to sign up to donate plasma to help current patients. Visit www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19-patients.html or nybc.org/covidplasma .