Arizona Has First Blood Plasma Donation For COVID-19 Patients

By Harry Croton
Published: Friday, April 17, 2020 - 2:58pm
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2020 - 5:16pm
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An Arizona blood center made history with the state’s first convalescent plasma donation, a blood component that could be a big step forward in coronavirus research.

Vitalant, formerly known as United Blood Services, launched its donation program in order to treat COVID-19 patients using blood plasma from people who have recovered from the disease.

Antibodies found in convalescent plasma may help strengthen the immune system, and it is currently the only coronavirus treatment available.

One donor can supply enough plasma to treat five patients.

“We're really hoping that it's going to be the thing to make the difference for the patients," communications specialist Sue Thew said. "It's a very promising tool and we're very hopeful that this is something that is going to make truly the difference of life and death for patients in hospitals.”

Rather than a vaccine, which is used to stimulate the production of antibodies and is likely more than a year away, convalescent plasma treatment directly injects the product into a patient’s bloodstream.

That can make for a quicker and stronger recovery.

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