Citrus Memorial Hospital
July 07, 2020

Plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 individuals can help critically ill patients

Inverness, FL — Citrus Memorial Hospital is part of 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, the hospital is seeking eligible volunteers to donate plasma to help current patients in need.

“We have been part of this important study since mid-May and have seen improvement in patient symptoms and ability to get them off the ventilator so that they can breathe on their own” said Citrus Memorial’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Raylene Platel. “Now, as we begin to see a rise in cases in our community, we are asking for help to spread awareness about plasma donation that will help current patients in need.”

To date, there is no proven therapy for individuals who are 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 that 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. 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 LifeSouth.

Citrus Memorial Hospital is one of 172 hospitals participating from the HCA Healthcare network. HCA Healthcare, along with its Sarah Cannon Research Institute, is leveraging its clinical research capabilities and national hospital network to quickly expand collection and testing for this study, which is being led by the Mayo Clinic and supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is one of several research initiatives involving COVID-19 in which HCA Healthcare and Sarah Cannon are participating.