HCA Midwest uses blood plasma transfusion for COVID-19 patient

Posted at 9:49 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 07:20:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People who have recovered from the novel coronavirus could help others battling COVID-19 by donating their plasma.

HCA Midwest Health is participating in a study that looks at using plasma from those who recovered from COVID-19 to help those battling the virus.

Over the weekend, doctors from Research Medical Center teamed up with doctors from Menorah Medical Center to transfuse donated blood plasma from a fully recovered COVID-19 patient into a critically ill patient. The patient, who is currently on a ventilator, has since seen her oxygen levels improve.

While the patient has shown improvement, Dr. Marjorie Wongskhaluang, an infectious disease specialist and co-investigator at Research Medical Center, said it is still "too early to say," but they are optimistic.

Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, but the FDA approved convalescent plasma treatment as an "investigational new drug."

Plasma is a liquid component in blood that contains antibodies, which help neutralize and attack viruses.

"If a patient has been exposed to the virus, their immune system will respond to that," said Dr. Joseph Restivo, a transfusion medicine specialist and co-investigator at Research Medical Center. "Part of that response is to make antibodies. It’s really those antibodies we’re interested in."

Donating plasma is similar to donating blood, and there are restrictions. A person has to recover for at least 14 days before they can donate plasma.

HCA Midwest Health is setting up a COVID-19 plasma donation hotline. For questions about how to donate or to participate in the study, call 833-582-1971. The hotline will be effective at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.