ST. LOUIS — The state of Missouri is putting a call out for anyone who has fully recovered from the coronavirus: doctors could use your plasma.
In what’s called a convalescent plasma program, doctors use plasma from someone who survived the virus and use it as a potential treatment in those who are currently fighting it.
“People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that have the potential to work against the virus,” the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services explained in a news release Monday.
It’s an experimental treatment for COVID-19 that’s been used for at least a century.
Doctors at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital are at the forefront of testing the plasma theory. Just a few weeks ago, the FDA gave Wash U and its partners at Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic emergency permission to try transfusing blood plasma from recovered patients to those still fighting the virus.
On Monday, Missouri’s health department asked anyone who has fully recovered to contribute their plasma, if they can.
Eligible candidates must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Not pregnant
- Have had a previous positive COVID-19 test
- Have been free from COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days
The contributions are not paid.
Coronavirus survivors are asked to call their nearest participating provider for information. In the St. Louis area, the only partner listed on the state’s website at this time is Wash U. Their contact email is IDCRU@wustl.edu. The phone number is 314-454-0058.
Plasma transfusions involving COVID-19 patients began in the last week in the St. Louis area.
"We're giving this to patients who are ill in the hospital, some with breathing tubes or with difficulty breathing," Barnes-Jewish physician and Washington University scientist Dr. Jeffery Henderson said.
"Our hope is that this speeds their recovery and gets them off of a breathing tube or improves their ability to breathe and allows their own immune system to catch up," Henderson said.
Mercy Hospital also confirmed it has treated three patients with plasma from a recovered coronavirus patient.