Recovered COVID-19 patients can help save others
OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 20, 2020) – With a rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Mercy is proactively reaching out to patients to ask them to consider becoming plasma donors.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the liquid portion of blood from recovered COVID-19 patients, called convalescent plasma, may contain antibodies. These antibodies may help others as they’re fighting the virus.
Using the MyMercy app and online patient portal, Mercy is sending a message to patients, asking those who tested positive if they’re willing to learn more about giving plasma. Donors need to be fully recovered for 14 days before donating plasma.
“We’re still learning about COVID antibodies,” said JoAnne Levy, vice president of Mercy Research. “Our goal is to contact potential donors and receive convalescent plasma when antibody levels may possibly be at their highest. That way, the donated plasma may be the most effective in helping others. And, as we learn more, we’ll adapt our approaches.”
Until now, the Mercy Research team has been calling recovered patients to see if they’re willing to donate. The MyMercy message will streamline the process for everyone.
“Patients will be able to hit a button that indicates they’re interested,” said Laura Canter, manager of non-oncology research for Mercy. “Then we can reach out to them accordingly.”
Mercy patients who do not have a MyMercy account can contact email@example.com for more information. Local patients whose positive COVID-19 test came from a health care provider other than Mercy can reach out directly to Oklahoma Blood Institute at 888-308-3924 to confirm their eligibility to donate.
“Our current demand for convalescent plasma is at an all-time high,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We need all recovered patients to donate to help ensure this product is on the shelf for local patients when needed. Delays in transfusing convalescent plasma may cost someone their life or prolong the severe symptoms of this virus.”
Oklahoma Blood Institute provides more than 90% of the state’s blood products, to more than 140 hospitals and medical facilities.