On Thursday, it was announced that The Christ Hospital Lindner Research Center received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start treating high-risk and very ill COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma, or the plasma from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus.
"Hospitals in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland have all expressed interest in participating in the treatment protocol," said Lt. Governor Jon Husted in the state's daily coronavirus briefing. "This is another great step in our efforts to save lives."
According to the Ohio Department of Health, "Convalescent plasma is rich in antibodies that could possibly attack the virus that causes COVID-19. It shows promise to lessen the severity or shorten the length of COVID-19."
While currently just an investigative treatment, the thought is that an infusion of blood from a recovered patient will give sick patients the COVID-19 antibodies to help them fight off the virus. Plasma is only obtained from patients who have been recovered from the virus for at least two weeks and it is thought each plasma donation could potentially help up to four patients.
The FDA is just approving the infusions through "an emergency investigational new drug application process with academic institutions to evaluate its safety and efficacy," says the Ohio Department of Health. The FDA says the hope is that thousands of units of plasma will be available to patients in the coming weeks.
If you want to know about the plasma program or what patients qualify for receiving plasma, visit uscovidplasma.org. The basic requirements are, according to the Mayo Clinic, which is spearheading the plasma program:
Patients are 18+ years of age
They have a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19
They are admitted to an acute care facility for the treatment of COVID-19 complications
They have severe or life-threatening COVID-19, or judged by the treating provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease
There is informed consent provided by the patient or healthcare proxy
They also have to be treated at a participating center — like the Christ Hospital Lindner Research Center
Health care providers not directly associated with a study can submit applications through certain pathways for individual patients.
If you are a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 and want to learn more about donating your plasma, visit redcrossblood.org/donate-blood