Valley Regional Medical Center has announced that it is participating in a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus.
As part of the effort, hospitals are seeking eligible volunteers to donate plasma to help current patients in need.
“ The use of convalescent plasma from COVID-19 recovered patients is another way of treating actively COVID-19 positive patients,” Dr. Javier Jover, medical director of the intensive care unit at VRMC, said in a press release. “At Valley Regional we have already used convalescent therapy in a few patients and we are cautiously optimistic about the results. I encourage patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who are completely recovered to please consider donating plasma that has the potential to benefit more patients with this type of therapy.”
“ We are proud to take part in this important study. We are asking for the help of our community to spread awareness about plasma donation for patients facing COVID-19 not only in South Texas, but also around the world,” said Art Garza, chief executive officer at Valley Regional Medical Center.
VRMC officials said to date, there is no proven therapy for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, but there is a long history of successful viral infection treatment using convalescent plasma. After someone is infected with a virus like COVID-19 and recovers, their blood contains antibodies their immune system produced to help them fight off the virus.
By infusing this plasma into patients who are facing severe cases of COVID-19, their immune system might more effectively be able to fight the virus, the release states. Recent examples of this approach have occurred during outbreaks of coronaviruses like SARS-1, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), but additional clinical data — and more plasma donations — are needed to determine efficacy in treating COVID-19.
The success of the study hinges on the continued collection of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. People who tested positive for COVID-19 and have since tested negative can help by donating plasma through the American Red Cross or another local donation center. To find out more about the donation process, eligibility and locations to donate in the Rio Grande Valley call COVID-19 Plasma Phone Line at (833) 582-1971 or visit our website.