Spectrum Health treating COVID-19 patients with plasma from recovered patients.

April 16, 2020

Spectrum Health treating COVID-19 patients with plasma from recovered patients.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health, in collaboration with Versiti Blood Centers, has begun treating COVID-19 patients with blood plasma from patients who have recovered from the disease, providing an additional treatment option to the most severely affected COVID-19 patients.

Historically, hospitals have used the treatment, known as “convalescent plasma therapy,” when a new disease spreads rapidly and no other treatments or vaccines are available. Spectrum Health has treated three patients with the therapy as of today.

To be considered as donors, patients who have had test-confirmed COVID-19 must be symptom free for at least 14-days.  They can then be scheduled for a second nasal swab test to verify that they are free of the COVID-19 virus.  If patients have been symptom free for greater than 27 days, no nasal swab is needed.  Then, a donation of blood plasma from this patient can be used to treat other patients with COVID-19.

Patients who are interested in donating plasma and have had a positive COVID-19 test from Spectrum Health do not need to take any action.  They will be contacted by the Spectrum Health research team to discuss potential eligibility.  Interested patients who had a positive COVID-19 test from a health system other than Spectrum Health should contact the research department at: covid19research@spectrumhealth.org .

Patients who have not had a formal COVID-19 positive test are not eligible to donate plasma at this time, but researchers are working to potentially achieve this.

“At a time where a treatment for COVID-19 is on the forefront of our minds, Spectrum Health is excited to introduce convalescent plasma therapy to our patients,” said Dr. Gordana Simeunovic. “The possibilities presented by this new treatment are encouraging – it is affordable, easy to administer and rarely has side effects.”

Spectrum Health is part of the National Convalescent Plasma Project for COVID-19 patients, which includes physician-scientists, universities and hospitals throughout the nation studying the use of convalescent plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients. Spectrum Health has partnered locally with Michigan State University to further this cause.

For more information on donating convalescent plasma, see the Convalescent Plasma Donation tab on this web page: https://www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19/giving-opportunities

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