LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — If you've had COVID-19 and recovered, you have the chance to help save others from the deadly virus. The first convalescent plasma drive in Nevada state history was held Monday, at St. Rose Dominican Hospital's Siena campus in Henderson.
The blood drive is hosted by Vitalant.
As scientists continue to work on a vaccine for COVID-19, convalescent plasma from recovered patients has been used to help treat people fighting the virus. Doctors say the antibodies found in a recovered patient's plasma could be the boost a current patient needs to recover. It's also a way to help doctors learn more about the virus.
Dr. Brian Lipman, MD, is an Infectious Disease specialist and participating investigator on the convalescent plasma study at St. Rose Siena campus.
Dr. Lipman says with a vaccine still in the works, plasma donation is the only treatment they have right now. He says they’re in a trial phase, testing to see whether or not plasma donation is effective in fighting COVID-19.
“Anecdotally, the people that we have treated here have made fairly dramatic responses to the treatment and it seems encouraging,” Dr. Lipman said.
Dr. Lipman says there are theoretical downsides to giving or receiving plasma. Patients can become fluid overloaded, see lung or kidney damage, or transmit infection, but Dr. Lipman says those side effects are very rare. The chances of transmitting infection are one in 12 million.
13 Action News talked with a pharmacist who donated her plasma last week after recovering from COVID-19.
"If it's a good match for the patients that we have that are critically ill right now, my first thought is obviously to be able to help them since I'm on their cases, and helping with their treatment plans, but really anyone else that can benefit from this. I'm more than happy to help," says Dr. Parisa Kahn.
There are a few requirements for those looking to donate, including:
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test.
- Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days.
- Meeting all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma.
Those who meet the eligibility criteria may apply to donate through the Vitalant. For more information, call 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762).