FAQ: Donation of Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of Other Patients with COVID-19

Patients who recover from COVID-19 will have the potential to help others infected with the virus by donating plasma. As a result of your infection, your body will eventually develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This is a normal immune response to help fight viruses and other infections. Currently, there is great enthusiasm that convalescent plasma – antibody-rich plasma obtained from recovered patients – can be administered to patients with severe infections to help them fight the virus.

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What is convalescent plasma?

When a person contracts a virus like COVID-19, their immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in plasma, which is the liquid part of blood. Plasma with these infection-fighting antibodies is called “convalescent plasma.” Through a blood donation process, this antibody-rich plasma can be collected from a recovered person, then transfused to a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. This provides a boost to the immune system of the sick patient and may help speed the recovery process.

Is it safe to donate convalescent plasma?

Yes, donating blood is safer today than it has ever been before. American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited blood donor centers follow AABB Standards and FDA’s regulations. These establishments follow strict rules and regulations to maintain the safety of all involved in the blood donation process. AABB-accredited blood centers and hospital blood banks voluntarily adhere to even higher quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to your safety.

What is the process for donating convalescent plasma?

During a plasma donation, blood is drawn from an arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells and platelets back to you. It only takes a few minutes longer than donating blood.

Is convalescent plasma a cure for COVID-19?

The FDA is permitting the use of convalescent plasma as a possible treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infection. It is considered an investigational treatment because clinical studies have started but have not yet been completed. We know there is evidence that convalescent plasma has helped patients with other illnesses, but doctors and researchers will not know how effective convalescent plasma will be in treating COVID-19 patients until more studies are completed.

I’m interested in donating my plasma, now what?

Interested patients must wait until they have recovered before they can donate plasma. Currently, patients must wait for at least 28 days after the resolution of their symptoms to donate plasma at a designated center. This assures that you are not at risk of transmitting the virus to others and that your body has had enough time to produce adequate antibodies against the virus. 

We will contact you in approximately four weeks via phone or through MyLVHN about the possibility of donating plasma if you are eligible. You will make an appointment to donate at one of the sites listed below: 

Miller-Keystone Donation Center:

You will be asked to bring a signed attestation or medical note with you to your donation appointment. This note will confirm the date of your diagnosis and document that an appropriate amount of time has passed to allow you to safely donate. The note can be provided by your primary care provider.

If you have any questions about the donation of convalescent serum, please call the MyLVHN Nurse Line at 1-888-402-LVHN (5846).