Convalescent plasma may be a new buzz word, and anyone who has tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 can donate theirs to the SANBS.
South Africa (09 July 2020) – If you have recently recovered from COVID-19 and been free from any symptoms for 28 days, you could save a life by donating convalescent plasma.
The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is exploring ways to use blood plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 patients locally. Following approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee, SANBS will be starting phase 2 clinical trials on plasma donated by recovered patients for national clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of convalescent plasma for the possible treatment of COVID-19. This includes supplying convalescent plasma to physicians currently treating patients with the virus in the context of the clinical trial.
A convalescent plasma donation is like a regular plasma donation. The critical difference is the need for a specific type of donor for this clinical trial. If you have recovered from COVID-19, you could donate your plasma.
Plasma Donor Eligibility Criteria
To participate, donors need to meet South Africa’s current plasma donor eligibility criteria and must additionally:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 65.
- Weigh more than 55kg.
- Have a previous positive diagnosis for COVID-19 by a laboratory test.
- Have fully recovered from the virus and free of symptom for at least 28 days.
- Have access to an SANBS donor centre.
- Females who have been pregnant before are not eligible.
“Donors who meet these requirements are encouraged to join our online registry. Contact Cynthia Nyoni 0825539041/0117619279 for more information.”
You can sign up to the registry here.
What is convalescent plasma?
Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from a virus, which contains neutralising antibodies necessary to fight off a virus. These antibodies develop in the body’s plasma and remain there for some time – even after someone has fully recovered – to shield them from possible future infection from that virus. In theory, these antibodies could be the key ingredient for a treatment to help others with the same virus. The use of convalescent plasma to treat an illness is not a new concept in medicine. In fact, convalescent plasma was used as a treatment for patients during the 1918 influenza outbreak – also known as the Spanish flu.