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Source: By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by NA - SC

May 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Blood Bank is partnering with the County to encourage San Diegans who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma, the liquid part of blood which contains antibodies. This plasma could help treat people who are hospitalized or seriously ill from the novel coronavirus.

While currently there is no vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19, “convalescent plasma may help patients fighting the virus because the plasma has antibodies against it,” the County’s top health official announced yesterday.

“This partnership helps us to achieve one of the indicators at the federal level for treatment of COVID-19,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We’re very excited about this partnership.”

The effort supports the County’s T3 Strategy of test, trace and treat.

Any of the more than 7,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19 locally and have recovered could donate plasma.

To donate convalescent plasma, people must also meet the regular screening criteria for blood donation. Donor information will be kept confidential and used for screening purposes only.

“It’s quite simple, but tremendously impactful,” said David Wellis, chief executive officer of the San Diego Blood Bank.

Wellis said 377 doses of convalescent plasma have been distributed across Southern California, especially San Diego County, but more is needed.

“The current hospital demand for (COVID-19 convalescent plasma) is great, but we’re not meeting the demand. And that sets the stage for this very innovative partnership,” Wellis said.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports some promising indications for use of plasma to treat COVID-19 patients, "further investigation is still necessary to determine if convalescent plasma is safe and effective as a treatment for COVID-19, and whether it might shorten the duration of illness, reduce morbidity, or prevent death associated with COVID-19."  For more information about what the FDA is doing, see Recommendations for Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.

To learn more about how the U.S. Government is supporting a national effort to collect and provide convalescent plasma to patients in need across the country, see the National Expanded Access Treatment ProtocolExternal Link Disclaimer.

The protocol requires the patient or their health care proxy to consent to receiving convalescent plasma from someone who has recovered from COVID-19. Only hospitalized COVID-19 patients who meet certain criteria and who are referred by their health care provider will participate in this protocol. Mayo Clinic is serving as the lead institution for the protocol, working collaboratively with industry, academic, and government partners.

Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and

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