The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient as an experimental treatment for those sick with the coronavirus. The treatment is based on the concept that the recovered person now has antibodies to fight the disease.
Before COVID-19, the Central California Blood Center had the technology to reduce harmful pathogens in donations. So, it made sense to apply it to recovered COVID-19 patients donating plasma.
“We were the first in the nation to actually offer a pathogen-reduced convalescent plasma product for patients who are currently fighting the coronavirus,” said Ersilia Lacaze, marketing director with the Central California Blood Center.
Other blood centers have since acquired the technology to reduce pathogens as well. Lacaze said what matters most is that the center can serve those in the region.
“We actually collected our first donor last week, a gentleman in his 70’s I believe, who was on a cruise, and yesterday we collected actually from a young lady who was studying abroad in Italy,” Lacaze said.
The plasma has since been distributed to local hospitals. Lacaze is hoping more recovered COVID-19 patients follow their lead, as soon as they meet the criteria.
“The eligibility for it, as you can imagine is pretty strict,” said Lacaze. “For example, we’re asking for folks that have either been 28 days asymptomatic or can prove that they had a negative test once they’ve had a positive.”
Fresno County recently announced a partnership with Fresno State to expand local testing capacity, and some hospitals like Community Regional Medical Center are also analyzing COVID-19 tests in-house.
The center asks volunteers to schedule any type of donation online.
The Central California Blood Center is a corporate sponsor of Valley Public Radio.