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IU Health is asking COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma for a potential treatment

Indiana University Health is seeking patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma to aid critically-ill patients battling the disease.

For those who have recovered from COVID-19, their blood may contain antibodies that are able to fight and control the virus. These antibodies can be collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and be transfused to patients who are struggling with the disease. This process is called convalescent plasma infusion.

“At this point there are no vaccinations or proven medications to treat COVID-19,” Nicolas Barros, MD, transplant infectious diseases specialist at IU Health and assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine, said in a statement. “The use of convalescent plasma is an investigational new treatment that could prove successful in the management of the disease.”

The idea of a treatment derived from recovering patients dates as far back as the 1890s. Given the lack of available therapeutic options for COVID-19 and the potential benefits of convalescent plasma infusions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved convalescent plasma as an investigational new drug.

“IU Health is uniquely positioned to leverage this investigative treatment thanks to our existing living donor program and close partnership with IU School of Medicine,” stated Jonathan Gottlieb, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer at IU Health. “Not only is it a potential way to develop effective treatments for this virus, it’s a gift from one donor that could impact multiple lives.”

Donors must be able to prove they had a COVID-19 diagnosis with a positive, documented laboratory test. Donors must also be symptom-free for 28 days. IU Health is working with blood centers to identify eligible plasma donors and facilitate the donations.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 and are willing to donate plasma should complete an online screening form at https://iuhealth.org/find-medical-services/covid-19-recovered-plasma-donation. If they qualify, they will be contacted by an IU Health nurse who will direct them to a blood center to make their donation.

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