How Houston doctors believe blood from recovered COVID-19 patients can save lives

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Survivors of COVID-19 could have an opportunity to help save the lives of anyone who ends up battling the virus.

UTHealth and Memorial Hermann announced Monday they are looking for people in the Greater Houston area who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for at least two weeks to fill out a form to determine if they qualify to donate plasma.

UTHealth physicians are looking into an experimental therapy at Memorial Hermann to help COVID-19 patients recover by transfusing plasma from virus survivors into critically ill patients.

This is part of the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program at the Mayo Clinic.

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Doctors explain antibody-rich plasma can help sick people overcome the virus.

The reason the need for plasma is so great is because not everyone will qualify to donate and not all viable plasma will be a match for the patients who need it.

"For the donor, the process of donating plasma is the same as donating blood. Different machines are used to extract the plasma, but the process is the same and we take about the same amount of blood - 200 mL, or about a cup," said Henry Wang, MD, MS, professor and executive vice chair of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

UTHealth and Memorial Hermann are partnering with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to screen and collect plasma.

After you've filled out this form, and if you qualify, you'll be asked to go to the Texas Medical Center to provide a blood sample for testing.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be in overall good health, without any cold or flu symptoms
  • Have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis documented by a laboratory test
  • Be fully recovered from COVID-19, with no symptoms for at least 14 days before the donation

For more information, visit the UTHealth site or send an email.

The video above is from a previous story.

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