CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 20, 2020) – Community non-profit blood center, Blood Assurance, continues collecting plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients to be used as an investigational treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Blood Assurance was the first blood center in Tennessee to collect and ship convalescent plasma and continues to lead the collection effort for the Tennessee and Georgia areas. Eighty-seven of these products have already shipped to patients in need and Blood Assurance has twelve of these products waiting to go to patients in need. These therapies were created from a total of twenty-five donations made by recovered COVID-19 donors.
COVID-19 convalescent plasma is an FDA investigational treatment where plasma is transfused from a recovered COVID-19 patient into a critically ill patient. Blood Assurance will continue collecting, processing and sending the donated plasma to hospitals where it will be given to patients in need. “We’re encouraged by the possibilities this treatment offers and are grateful for the support we received from Blood Assurance as we considered its use,” said Sheila Bennett, Executive Vice President and Chief of Patient Services at Floyd Medical Center. “Our shared commitment to our community’s health and well-being makes Blood Assurance a valued partner year-round, but particularly at a time like this.”
To donate convalescent plasma for patients in need, donors must have been officially diagnosed with COVID-19, must pass all standard requirements to give plasma and must either be symptom free for 28 days or have a document certifying they have tested negative for COVID-19 at least 14 days prior.
Blood Assurance is seeking donors and encourages anyone who meets these to consider donating convalescent plasma. Dr. Barnes, an anesthesiologist at Memorial Hospital, recovered from COVID-19 and donated convalescent plasma last week at Blood Assurance. “There are so few treatment options for the more severe cases,” said Dr. Barnes. “Convalescent plasma is a promising treatment that has been used for other diseases for more than 100 years, so the ability to use plasma to treat hospitalized patients sick with COVID-19 is an exciting prospect. People that recover from COVID-19 have the unique ability to make a real difference in someone else’s life – potentially even save a life.”
To see if you meet all requirements to be a convalescent plasma donor or if you are a clinician interested in convalescent plasma, Blood Assurance urges you to visit www.bloodassurance.org/covidplasma.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
About Blood Assurance
Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components to every area patient in need.