OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With COVID-19 deaths rising here in Nebraska, the number of people recovering is also rising. Those that have recovered could also be the key in helping others.
"We can make no efficacy claims for convalescent plasma, although there are early reports that it seems to help in...not terribly controlled studies," said Dr. Jed Gorlin, medical director at Nebraska Community Blood Bank. "Controlled studies are happening at Johns Hopkins and other places but we still await their official results. In the meantime, it seems like a good idea to give antibodies to help fight off an infection."
You have to be fully recovered from COVID-19 to participate.
"We need documentation that you had it, either the molecular test or the antibody test," Gorlin said.
They are building a public bank of plasma. It will be used to treat patients with serious or immediate life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
"It's a transfusion, it has to be infused. On the Mayo protocol it is limited to people with moderate to severe illness so you have to be hospitalized. It's not being given to people with just exposure," Gorlin said.
During the plasma treatment, the patient is transfused with the recovered donor's plasma. The goal of using the antibodies is to help clear the virus, speed recovery and help decrease the use of ICU beds and ventilators.
It takes less than an hour to donate plasma and while you are there, they ask that you donate blood as well.
You can donate up to four times per week and for safety distancing reasons, appointments are required.