Shortage of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – As the number of people with COVID-19 increases, the medical community is learning more about something called convalescent plasma therapy.

Hospitals like Scripps Green are taking a leading role in using the antibodies from people who’ve recovered from COVID-19.

Dr. Mike Preziosi, an infectious disease specialist at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla said the antibodies in the blood plasma of recovered patients can help to neutralize the virus in people with active infections.

Preziosi said the ideal time to use the therapy is within the first seven days of infection, while the body is still engaged in trying to build up an army of antibodies.

However, as the treatment becomes more widely used, hospitals are reporting a growing shortage of donor plasma.

Preziosi said it’s not uncommon to wait for a week now for a unit of plasma, which makes it difficult to treat a patient within the seven day window when the therapy is most effective.

Until a vaccine is developed for mass use, doctors like Preziosi have said they will continue to look for the most effective therapies. The plasma treatment can’t be one of them if there isn’t enough donor plasma to go around.

If you are at least 17 years old, have recovered from COVID-19 and have been symptom free for at least 14 days, you may be a candidate for plasma donation. You can contact the American Red Cross or the San Diego Blood Bank.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News