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Recovered COVID-19 patients can donate plasma at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to help develop treatment

Antibodies in blood can provide passive immunity to other patients

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is participating in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration program to begin collecting plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.

The blood center is one of several across the country joining the program, which was discussed during the White House COVID-19 briefing on Friday.

Researchers believe that the antibodies in convalescent plasma of someone who has fended off the virus can help develop a potential treatment for the infectious disease.

"We expect that many donors who have experienced COVID-19 will want to do their part to help patients suffering from a severe form of the illness,” said Elizabeth Waltman, Chief Operating Officer of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center. “We ask that donors remain patient as we work to put the program into place.”

Individuals may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma if they were confirmed with a prior diagnosis for COVID-19 by a laboratory test and are completely free of symptoms of infection, according to the news release.

Waltman later confirmed patients who believed they previously had COVID-19, but who were not tested while they were ill, could still donate if they were found to have the antibodies in their blood. However, she said the test that would be used to determine that was not yet up and running.

Recovered patients who meet the criteria along with other FDA requirements for blood donation can learn more about participating by emailing COVID19@southtexasblood.org.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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