Prisma Health is participating in a national clinical trial to test the effectiveness of blood plasma in treating severe coronavirus cases, hospital officials announced Wednesday, April 15.
The treatment is developed from the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients and then administered to hospitalized patients who have the life-threatening virus, according to a release.
“The overall goal of the trial is to determine if blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can improve the chance of recovery for people severely-ill with the disease,” the release says.
As part of the trial, a national coalition led by the Mayo Clinic will be using blood banks to help collect the plasma and distribute it for use in COVID-19 patients in approximately 100 sites across the country, including Prisma Health.
A partnership with Prisma Health and The Blood Connection will ensure local plasma is available for South Carolinians, according to the release. The University of South Carolina will provide lab testing.
COVID-19 patients who meet certain criteria established by the FDA are eligible for the treatment.
Such therapy is currently only approved for the most ill COVID-19 patients, said Jeffrey Edenfield, medical director for the Institute for Translational Oncology Research at Prisma Health.
“The immune systems of recovered patients have created the antibodies needed to clear the virus from the body. These same antibodies can be collected from them in a process much like giving blood and then given to others who are still struggling
with the disease,” Edenfield said.
Edenfield said he’s hopeful that the treatment will help more severely ill people recover more quickly.
“This investigational treatment has shown promise in outbreaks of similar viral respiratory infections,” Edenfield added.
Prisma Health patients who have fully recovered after testing positive for COVID-19 will receive a letter inviting them to donate plasma for this effort. Any recovered COVID-19 patient who has testing documentation from their physician may be eligible to donate plasma.
Positive test documentation can include a copy of the donor’s lab results showing a positive test for COVID-19 or a document from the donor’s healthcare provider stating that the donor had a positive test for COVID-19 and the date of the positive test. This document must be on the letterhead or prescription pad of the healthcare provider and be signed and dated.
How to donate
If you have recovered from COVID-19 and wish to donate, please contact The Blood Connection at 864-751-1168 to make an appointment. In addition, donation times and locations will be scheduled in the Midlands based on the number of interested donors who meet the criteria. The Blood Connection does not test for COVID-19.