Oklahoma Blood Institute collects hundreds of convalescent plasma units to help coronavirus patients

Plasma infusion

Wannabe vampires, beware: The US Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday against using plasma infusions from young blood donors to ward off the effects of normal aging as well as other more serious conditions.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Blood Institute has collected over 210 units of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) for innovative treatment of coronavirus patients.

The plasma was collected from 76 donors, according to an Oklahoma Blood Institute news release.

“Innovation is a major part of what defines us,” said John Armitage, MD, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “This dedication to change and improvement allows us to focus on supplying patient and partner needs on previously unheard-of timelines.”

New Food & Drug Administration rules established the program less than a month ago.

FDA emergency guidelines allow COVID-19 patients to donate convalescent plasma 14 days after they’re shown to be symptom-free with a negative nasal swab. However, many blood centers wait until patients are 28 days symptom-free, according to the news release.

“OBI identified and recruited many generous donors recovering from the virus through coordinated efforts with local physicians and hospitals, as well as the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma State Medical Association, and others,” the news release states.

OBI, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and the Tulsa Health Department cut up to two weeks off donor wait time to donate CCP by quickly establishing a process for nasal swab sampling and DNA re-testing, according to the news release.

“We’re greatly appreciative to the Oklahoma Blood Institute for acting quickly to lead this project, which helps support our efforts toward mitigating the impact of the virus, and most importantly, is proving to help some who are critically ill recover faster,” said Dr. Patrick McGough, executive director of the Oklahoma City County Health Department.

OBI also has a statewide registry through Bio-Linked that Oklahomans who recovered from COVID-19 can sign up for. Over 165 people have signed up for the registry, which provides a pathway to potential samples for future COVID-19 research, according to the news release.

“Successful innovation usually requires motivation, capabilities, experience, and partnerships to be deployed for the right opportunity. When it comes to helping pandemic patients struggling on ventilators, we are proud to have been a central player in the amazing healthcare collaboration that brought our community together get this cutting edge, CCP treatment to our friends and neighbors in need. This is the Oklahoma Standard being delivered in the form of rapid, biotech innovation,” Armitage said.

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